Renowned fundraiser ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley has been given a £1,000 charity boost as he prepares to take on the toughest foot race on earth across the Sahara Desert.
The Black Country marathon man received the donation from leading regional building society the West Brom in aid of his appeal for the Albion Foundation.
Dave plans to become the first blind person to tackle the gruelling 150 mile, six day Marathon Des Sables race across the Sahara in April. He wants to raise £30,000 for the Albion Foundation, which works with children and young people with disabilities or disadvantages, using football to improve their opportunities.
Although no stranger to feats of endurance, Dave will need all his reserves of energy and willpower when he pits himself against an inhospitable landscape, ploughing through the sand in searing temperatures while carrying food and equipment on his back. He will be accompanied by friends Tony Ellis and Rosemary Rhodes.
Jim King, Communications Manager at the West Brom, said: “Dave is an inspirational figure and we are proud to count him as a West Brom member. We have supported several of his previous fundraisers, including his amazing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents achievement, and we wish him every success with his next big adventure.”
Dave, who lives in West Bromwich, said: “I’d like to thank the Society for its support. I don’t underestimate the test I will face in the Sahara and I am training hard for the event.
“The Albion Foundation does fantastic work in helping disabled people to become involved in sport, in particular blind football, so I’m keen to raise as much as I can.”
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/BlindDaveMDS. The event on 3 to 13 April requires competitors to carry everything except water that they need to survive in the Sahara. Runners are given a place in a tent to sleep at night but any other equipment and food must be carried.
The West Brom’s donation was made through the Mercian Community Trust, a partnership between the Society and the Diocese of Lichfield to support community groups and charitable causes in the region.