Edinburgh veteran back in the saddle thanks to charity’s efforts

A Scottish veteran whose passion for cycling was halted for 20 years by sight loss is back in the saddle thanks to the work of two charities.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 1:45 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 1:48 pm
Bryce Campbell
Bryce Campbell

Bryce Campbell, from Edinburgh, fell in love with bikes as a boy and took part in numerous amateur races and time trials as an adult.

But the 84-year-old was forced to stop riding after being diagnosed with Glaucoma, with his sight deteriorating extensively in the last five years.

Campbell, who served in the Royal Army Pay Corps when he undertook National Service in early 1960s, was able to cycle once more after visiting the Linburn Centre in West Lothian run by Scottish War Blinded.

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The charity’s activity centre offers activities for veterans with sight loss, with transport provided free of charge.

Linburn Centre staff worked with Cycling UK’s tandem cycling club for people with vision impairments, VIE Velo, to help Campbell get pedalling again with use of a tandem bike.

The grandfather was full of praise for their efforts. “It was like low-level flying – I’ve always likened cycling to that,” he said. “There was no fear, it all just came back naturally to me.

“I think I took it up as more of a sport when I was about 14. I cycled more before my time in the army.

“You name it, I did it – time trials, road racing. I even raced against the Russian Olympic Team in the 1970s. That was when I was with the Velo Club Stella in Glasgow, a real racing club, and the club organised a race to give them some competition.”

The Linburn Centre is now looking forward to bringing more cycling experiences to Scottish War Blinded members in 2019.

Rebecca Barr, director of Scottish War Blinded, said: “We are focused on tailoring support to our members in ways most suited to them. Hobbies and interests are such a vital component of a person’s independence and identity, so we endeavour to find ways for our veterans to keep their passions going, despite their sight loss.”