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Visually impaired Elgin dad prepares to visit 272 London Underground stops in two days for charity

Gary Ritchie and Tracey Morris will be visiting every mainline tube station in London to raise money for NESS
Gary Ritchie and Tracey Morris will be visiting every mainline tube station in London to raise money for NESS

A visually impaired man has set himself the task of visiting every mainline London tube station to give back to an Aberdeen charity.

Gary Ritchie was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in 2013, and has received emotional and physical support from North East Sensory Services (Ness) ever since.

RP is a rare genetic condition involves a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina which has gradually robbed Mr Ritchie of his sight and rendered him legally blind.

Now the 49-year-old has challenged himself to visit 272 London Underground stops in two days to thank them.

The engineer – who has previously raised £500 through a tandem skydive – will be assisted by family friend Tracey Morris.

‘My way of giving back’

Mr Ritchie has long been “fascinated” with the underground tube network that covers most of London.

The Elgin dad-of-one said: “I’ve been fascinated by the London Underground for years because I’m an engineer to trade.

“It’s something I have had on my bucket list for a while, and I thought, why not raise money at the same time.

“I’ve been connected with Ness since I was first diagnosed. Apart from emotional support, I was also trained with the ‘long cane’ that people would call the ‘white stick’.

“They’ve helped with documentation and claiming things and all that kind of practical and emotional support over the years.

“This is my way of giving back to Ness after all they’ve done for me.”

The challenge begins on March 24, and already £600 has been raised.

Charity helps thousands across Scotland

The charity currently provides support services for around 6,500 people with hearing and visual impairment needs across Grampian, Angus and Dundee.

They are dedicated to helping sensory impaired people participate in society to the same level as those without sensory loss.

Graham Findlay

Graham Findlay, chief executive of Ness, said: “We are incredibly excited for Garry as he embarks upon this challenge, and we are extremely lucky he has chosen to raise funds for Ness at the same time.

“Our driving objective is to achieve independence for blind and deaf people, so it’s wonderful to see one of our service users taking on a challenge of this nature.

“We hope Garry and Tracey have a great time and wish them all the best.”

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