Meet the Fundraiser – Dave Mulligan

Henshaws' services couldn't support as many people living with sight loss and other disabilities as they do without help from our amazing fundraisers. Over the years we have had people fundraising in all sorts of ways, from bake sales, sponsored silences or even throwing themselves out of a plane (with a parachute of course!). However, our most recent fundraiser may well be one of our most impressive; Dave Mulligan is aiming to walk the length of Britain on his own and with less than 5% vision...

Here at Henshaws, we love hearing stories of our service users, staff, volunteers and supporters going beyond expectations. One man that is certainly doing that is Dave, a Henshaws service user who accesses services in our Bolton hub, who is currently taking on the mammoth task of walking the length of Britain from Cape Wrath to Dungeness, that’s 900 miles, over 42 days! A truly remarkable challenge made even more impressive when you find out that Dave has less than 5% vision and will be completing the walk on his own with the aid of smartphone/tablet maps. We caught up with Dave to find out why he is doing it…

“I was diagnosed with Glaucoma around 19 years ago and have been gradually losing my sight since. Around 10 years ago I had around 5% of my vision left, I’d say I have less than that now. Despite this, I still feel blessed to have held on to the little sight I have and the fact that I am still able to walk. I’ve always been into walking and running and have a particular love for journeys, there is something quite primeval about just setting off walking and finding your way; I suppose that is one of the biggest motivations for this challenge.

Dave wearing a pink Henshaws t-shirt
Dave stood in a pink Henshaws t-shirt smiling and pointing at a map of Ripon

I first accessed Henshaws’ services a couple of years ago. To be honest, before I started coming I used to think I didn’t need things like groups or support, I’d much rather just get on with my day to day life and deal with my sight loss myself. Getting involved with Henshaws has helped me a great deal, I’m part of the braille group now and get regular help with tech and it’s changed my attitude in a way. Alongside the practical help in being able to use tech to overcome my sight loss, I also get a huge amount out of sharing experiences with other visually impaired people; you often find you have a lot of common issues and each person has different ways to solve them. Coming to the groups really has opened up more possibilities for me in the future, through the skills I’ve learnt and the people I’ve met.

This is the third challenge of this kind that I’ve done, having previously done John O’ Groats to Lands End and the Camino de Santiago in Portugal. It goes without saying that they are physically hard challenges but it is the mental side that can often be harder; spending that long on your own counting down the miles. I love doing them though, and it’s also a positive that I can raise awareness of what blind people can do! It would be great to raise as much money as possible for Henshaws and Guide Dogs as I’ve benefitted hugely from their support.

Dave is nearing the end of his challenge and is due to arrive in Dungeness around the end of July. He has been providing regular updates and blogs through his Facebook page; you can donate to his effort through his Virgin Money giving page. All money donated will be split between Henshaws and Guide Dogs.

We can't do it without you

Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.

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Alex is the Marketing and Fundraising Officer and is responsible for delivering marketing support to each area of fundraising activity.