A military veteran from Hampton completed a 100-mile bike ride in 7 hours, 20 minutes for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Ralph Arundell, 52, took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, raising more than £2,100 for the charity.

His route took him through the City of London and Canary Wharf, out to Box and Leith Hills in Surrey, and then back into London along the Mall.

Ralph, whose wife also took part in the RideLondon, said: “It was pretty tough given the rainy weather but other than the conditions it was less gruelling than some of the training rides we’d done over shorter distances in the heat.

“It was fantastic to see a good-sized peloton of Blind Veterans riders who overtook us a couple of times and staff and volunteers at the cheer points in Kingston. A big thank you to the hardy souls who braved the weather to support the riders!”

Ralph has been able to witness the impact the charity is able to make on veterans living with sight loss first hand. He explains: “In February 2007 I was commanding 3rd Battalion The Rifles in Iraq and my B Company had responsibility for the defence of the Shaibah Logistics Base. One evening a perimeter patrol came under attack and a vehicle was hit by an IED.

“This destroyed the vehicle, badly wounding one of the team. The quick thinking of the patrol commander saved the young Rifleman’s life but sadly could not save his eyesight. Although barely in his twenties, he was left with life-changing injuries and permanent blindness.”

Ralph me former Infantry Officer Ray Hazan OBE, who later went on to become president of Blind Veterans UK years at a school talk and he quickly got in touch with the charity.

Ralph says: “I remembered the inspirational talk very vividly, even 26 years later, and I contacted Blind Veterans UK to see what they might be able to do to help the young Rifleman’s adjust to his new world. Ray Hazan himself came to speak, not only to the Rifleman in question but publicly and very movingly to the whole battalion.”

“Despite his injuries he now lives in a specially adapted house and copes with the challenges he faces every day. Without the support of service charities such as Blind Veterans UK and Scottish War Blinded his life would undoubtedly be even harder.”

Ralph has so far raised £2,145 for Blind Veterans UK.

Prudential Ride London took place on 29 July 2018 with more than 25,000 riders travelling from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Mall in central London, via Leith and Box Hills in Surrey.