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‘Lifestyle’

Blind Man Running: Richard Wheatley’s Marathon Journey

February 6th, 2019 / View in own page?

Meet Richard Wheatley, blind comedian and physicist who is taking on the 26.2 mile long London marathon for LOOK. This is the first in a series of blogs Richard is writing all about his marathon journey.

 

My name is Richard Wheatley, Britain’s funniest blind physicist turned award winning radio news reader and stand-up comedian with a blue Peter Badge… well definitely top three.

Since graduating from my Physics degree a couple of years ago I have been on a journey, a long journey that I don’t have space for here but it involves 8 different countries, learning to say thank you in 9 different languages and an uncountable number of moments that can only be described as “the blind literally leading the blind”. All these adventures came from just one simple principle, never say no to an adventure.

One adventure was to go to a nerdy comedy show after which I talked to the comedians. From that I signed up to a comedy course which inspired me to perform my first stand-up gig in October 2017. Friends from that course suggested we take a show to Edinburgh together before they dropped out leaving me the adventure of my first solo show. After a month at the Edinburgh Fringe I knew comedy was my life’s ambition.

I tell you this so that you understand that when an old school friend texted me to ask if I wanted to run the London marathon for Look there was only one answer I could give.

Well, okay, actually there was a thought process:

There’s no way I can run a marathon,

There’s no way I can say no to the opportunity of running the marathon,

It’s a big commitment with all the training,

I am literally walking in to the gym as I read the text so I’m already halfway to the commitment.

As a result, I made the mistake of saying yes and now I am doomed to running in the wind and the rain as I train in January for the April marathon.

On the other hand, there are reasons that this isn’t a mistake, reasons that the charity Look are worth the pain and hard work, reasons that I sincerely hope will make the lives of young blind people better as I inhale rain and feel the puddles seep through my trainers.

A large number of my friends from school are now part of the mentoring program, volunteering to support younger blind students, or working to coordinate networking events that will directly benefit them in ways that are inspiring in themselves. In fact, it’s because Look supports young Blind people and employ young blind people who know young blind people that I am running the marathon. Look is an important part of the development of the VI community.

One difficulty as a blind runner is, well, running. The difficulty is running outside independently, never knowing quite when a casual dog walker may loom out of nowhere, meaning I have to be prepared to stop or swerve at any moment. The best solution is to find someone willing to not only train with me in the park regularly but to actually run 26 miles at my pace while giving directions such as “left turn”, “lamppost on the right”, “please stop singing”. Such a person is surprisingly hard to find, however I think I have found my man.

But finding a guide is not the end of the challenge, I have not been running long distances for very long, only after signing up for the marathon did I achieve 10 KM on a treadmill in the gym, but I have almost never run long distances outside. I am used to the ground whizzing backwards as I run on a treadmill but somehow that doesn’t quite translate in to pavement jogging as new aches and pains open throughout my body. Having built up my stamina in the gym I now have to do it all over again on tracks and paths.

This is the first post I am writing on my journey to the London marathon, if you have enjoyed reading it then please lookout for the next instalment. If you have not enjoyed reading it then sorry, I promise the next post will be better.

If you would like to sponsor me to run the marathon then please follow this link.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-portal/fundraiserPage?pageId=1001133#stickyAnchor

If you are interested in seeing me perform stand-up comedy then you can:

Every Thursday night I compare Funny Box Live at the Tankard, Walworth road, SW17 1JL.

My solo show, Richard Wheatley Is Blindingly Obvious debuts on the Leicester comedy festival on Sunday 10 February and tickets are available through this link.

http://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/richard-wheatley-is-blindingly-obvious/

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Going on honeymoon with Seable Holidays

September 6th, 2018 / View in own page?

Our Marketing and Communications Officer Kevin recently got married, and for his honeymoon he booked a trip to Sicily with an accessible holiday company called Seable Holidays. Kevin blogs about what it was like to go abroad with Seable.

“Kevin, hold out your hands. Can you feel the heat coming from the lava stone?” We are standing near the summit of Mount Etna, and Francesco our guide from Seable Holidays has just picked a few small lava stones off the ground and put them in my hand. I marvel at how warm they feel, despite the stiff breeze sweeping over us. I turn to my wife and say “Wow, this is amazing.” In awe at the experience.
We’re in the middle of our week-long honeymoon in Sicily that we booked with Seable holidays. Seable are an award-winning enterprise that organise accessible holidays for disabled people.

 

a plate of grilled octopus with a slice of lemon.
Booking the holiday was as simple as calling up Seable and choosing where we wanted to go and the activities we wanted to do. And what choice! From wine-tasting to wind surfing, we were amazed by the amount of activities we could pick.

Arrivals and Prosecco

Two hands clinking two glasses of Prosecco

After an early start and a quick and stress-free flight, Francesco was ready and waiting at arrivals to meet us. He took us to the car, and we enjoyed a pleasant journey to the B&B getting to know Francesco and learning a little about the history of Catania, the Sicilian town where we had landed. When we got to our room It was a really nice surprise to discover that Seable had given us a bottle of Prosecco in a bucket of ice as a honeymoon present. (Safe to say we made the most of that)!

The city gate to Catania.

The genius of local knowledge

Lunch followed, and this is where the genius of having a local person as our guide came in. Francesco took us to a small restaurant, where we enjoyed a light lunch of fresh fish, black rice, beans and salad. It was the first of many enjoyable meals, including delicious pastas, seafood dishes and local delicacies like Arancini (stuffed rice balls) that Francesco recommended to us.

Wine tasting

Kevin tasting wine at a dinner table.

The next day, Francesco drove us to a large farm on the slopes of Mount Etna. We met the farmer’s wife and sat around a beautiful glass dining table, set in the middle of the spacious, open-plan living room. She told us that the room we were in used to be a winery and went on to explain how they now produced their own wine since buying the farm 12 years ago. We then tried some of the red wine, which we had with an exquisite five course lunch. I think the taste was definitely enhanced by the fact many of the delicious ingredients and herbs used in the dishes were grown on the farm.

A view of the castle, Aci Castello.

From visiting an ancient monastery, and going around a restored Greek theatre, to going on a boat trip and swimming in the sea, the days that followed were full of discovery and joy.
One of my personal highlights, was going for a swim in the sea opposite the B&B with Francesco. When we decided to swim back to the shore, I kept veering off in the wrong direction, so Francesco suggested singing and swimming to help me hear where he was. You know what? It worked, and it wasn’t long before we were back on dry land.

a view of the sea from the balcony.

We also enjoyed the fact that from time to time Francesco left us to our own devices. Whether that was having some time to ourselves in the B&B or taking us to dinner and returning us after we had finished our meal.

We both had a wonderful honeymoon and would definitely recommend Seable to any couples, groups and families who want a holiday.

Fancy a break a little closer to home? The LOOK holiday flat in Scarborough is available to rent for visually impaired young people and their families. Situated just 2-minutes’ walk from the sea-front, our flat is the perfect place to stay for a short break by the sea. To book call 01432376314 or email info@look-uk.org

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LOOK Fashion Event

July 24th, 2018 / View in own page?

Come to the LOOK Fashion Event!

 

28August 2018

John Lewis Birmingham

12-4pm

Free event

Are you visually impaired and 11-29? Interested in getting fashion tips from fashion experts and VI vloggers? Always wanted to sport the latest look, or wear a new outfit, but don’t know where to start? Then our fashion day is definitely for you.

What’s happening on the day

We’re hosting our fashion day in John Lewis Birmingham on 28 August. Blind beauty YouTuber Lucy Edwards, featured by Buzzfeed in 2015, will join stylists and fashion experts to give fashion tips and advice.

You’ll become a dab hand at doing your own make-up, you’ll get tips to identify and match clothes and you’ll also learn the best ways to pick the look that’s right for you.  Gentlemen, think this event isn’t for you? Wrong. Cristiano Ronaldo is a pretty stylish player, wouldn’t you say?

Places are limited so make sure you book your place fast.

To sign up please email events@look-uk.org or call 01432376314.

Fashion matters. Being blind doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

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