Visually impaired Kenilworth walker finishes 100-mile walk for talking book service

David Pool, far left, with his group of friends on the Annual South Downs Way Walk. Picture: Shirley Rushmer
David Pool, far left, with his group of friends on the Annual South Downs Way Walk. Picture: Shirley Rushmer
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A visually impaired walker from Kenilworth took on a 100-mile walk in Sussex to raise money for a talking book service he often uses.

David Pool, 64, walked the full distance of the South Downs Way from Friday June 9 to Saturday June 17 to raise money for the DeMontfort Talking Books Service, which provides audiobooks for those who struggle with their sight.

Each person with visual impairment had a helper to guide them on their way. Picture: Shirley Rushmer

Each person with visual impairment had a helper to guide them on their way. Picture: Shirley Rushmer

David said: “There is no substitute for a good book because they build pictures in your head and you can’t get that from any other medium.”

He was joined by eight of his friends on the walk from Eastbourne to Winchester, four of whom were also visually impaired with the other four being their helpers.

Although he admitted the walk was ‘tough’, he said the camaraderie with his fellow walkers was able to spur him on and complete the trek.

When asked how the walk went, David said: “Well, I survived, and I’ve got sore feet. I’ve never undertaken anything remotely like that.

“I staggered into Winchester completely shattered, but it was such a great experience.”

Although he could not see the landscape, David had no trouble appreciating the picturesque scenery around him.

He added: “Just to be up on the hills, it is beautiful. You forget just how special the UK is, England’s green and pleasant land.

“There is an enormous sense of community and a tremendous camaraderie talking to others on the walk.

“I am lucky that I have had sight so I have memory. You form memories from observation around you. You can feel what is under your feet, you can feel the breeze and hear the birds.

“Someone else can tell me what they can see so I can use their observations to form a picture.”

David said he was lucky to have a normal childhood and early working life before retinal dystrophy caused the back of his eye to gradually close down, causing his eyesight to deteriorate.

He started walking in the Lake District with his father in 1967, so when his friend suggested the Annual South Downs Way Walk 50 years later, David thought it was a great idea.

He started his working life in retail, spent 20 years in banking and 10 further years in careers advice for young people.

David aimed to raise £1,000 for DeMontfort Talking Books Service as a result of his walk to help convert its back-catalogue of cassettes into digital files to be stored on USB sticks.

Anyone wishing to donate should click here