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Blind Redbridge hikers aim to become first to complete 50km Peak District challenge in under 12 hours

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 August 2018

Masuma Ali and Bhavini Makwana are both blind and both work for visual impairment charity East London Vision.

Masuma Ali and Bhavini Makwana are both blind and both work for visual impairment charity East London Vision.

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Two visually impaired charity workers are hoping to become part of the first blind and sighted group to take on the Peak District challenge next month.

Bhavini Makwana, Masuma Ali, Saul Wynne and Ian Francis hope to become the first sighted and blind team to complete the 50km peak district challenge in under 12 hours. Photo: Masuma AliBhavini Makwana, Masuma Ali, Saul Wynne and Ian Francis hope to become the first sighted and blind team to complete the 50km peak district challenge in under 12 hours. Photo: Masuma Ali

Masuma Ali, of Thorold Road, Ilford, and Bhavini Makwana, from Goodmayes, are both registered blind and have been training over the last eight months to take on the 50km walk in under 12 hours on September 22.

The pair - who both work for visual impairment charity East London Vision - are appealing for neighbours to help them with their training by accompanying them on their lengthy walks.

“I am an adrenaline junkie and like doing activities that give you the scared, excited and nervous butterflies in the tummy feeling,” said Masuma, 34.

But added: “One of the challenges as part of the training has been finding sighted support to carry out my training.

Bhavini Makwana, who is registered blind,  traverses thick vegetation. Photo: Masuma AliBhavini Makwana, who is registered blind, traverses thick vegetation. Photo: Masuma Ali

“Particularly over the last couple of months where I am now wanting to walk a minimum of 10 miles at least once a week and more if possible.”

The challenge involves traversing terrain which could trip up the toughest of hikers - including steep hills covered in loose rocks, narrow paths surrounded by brambles and grass tussocks.

During the real challenge, Masuma and Bhavini will be joined by Saul Wynne and Ian Francis who are from charities Metro Blind Sport and Blind Veterans UK respectively.

Bhavini, 38, said: “My guide Saul is doing an incredible job of supporting me when I feel I can’t continue and also guiding me through all types of terrain such as uneven paths with roots sticking out.”

Bhavini, Masuma, Ian and Saul embark on a training walk. Photo: Saul WynneBhavini, Masuma, Ian and Saul embark on a training walk. Photo: Saul Wynne

The pair hope to raise funds for charity Bendrigg Trust, who provide a range of adventure activities for disabled people.

Masuma has benefited first hand from the charity’s Spirit of Adventure programme which enables blind people to go caving and rock climbing.

Masuma added: “We all hoping to smash it on the day and I am looking forward to having my social life back as it is currently non-existent!”

Support Musama and Bhavini’s training by emailing team@lookwhoswalking.org or donate to their crowdfunding campaign at justgiving.com/fundraising/lookwhoswalking-peakdistrictchallenge

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