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Escape from Colditz: Inspirational Blind Dave reveals next charity adventure

By Harriet Evans | West Bromwich | News | Published:

"I could be sat on the settee, but I'd rather be on the back of a bike."

SANDWELL PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC EXPRESS AND STAR 4/12/2019 WITH VIDEO 'Blind Dave' Heeley, gets ready for his latest challenge Escape from Colditz, with (left) Hugh Porter, and (right) James Morrison, at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich..

Fundraising hero, 'Blind Dave' Heeley, who has raised more than £3 million for charity, is preparing to escape from Colditz in his latest fundraising campaign.

The 62-year-old West Bromwich-born athlete will cycle 800 miles on a tandem bike from the former prisoner of war camp in Germany all the way back to The Hawthorns.

WATCH: Blind Dave reveals more on his latest challenge

'Blind Dave' Heeley tells all about his Escape from Colditz challenge

In April, Dave and his team will spend two days in Colditz Castle and then ride back through Germany, Holland, Harwich and Peterborough before crossing the finish line back in the Black Country.

He is hoping to raise £75,000 for the Albion Foundation.

Dave got the idea from one of his friends who on the way to Norway and ended up taking a detour to Colditz.

He said: "He rang me up and said 'I'm in Colditz, what do you reckon for a bike ride?' so we put our heads together and thought we've done the escape from Alcatraz a few years ago, so lets escape from Colditz.

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"That's how these adventures come about, someone will just say something and it will spark an idea and I'll say, go on then lets have a go."

The epic bike ride in April 2020 will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the castle at the end of the Second World War.

A film, 7 Days, chronicled Dave's life story and fundraising achievements. It had its premiere earlier this year

Over the years, Dave has taken on a number of extreme challenges, including taking on the Marathon des Sables, all 25 of the Great Runs, Top-2-Toe, seven marathons in seven continents in seven days, and he isn't planning on stopping anytime soon.

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Dave said: "I do enjoy testing myself, I enjoy fitness and the training, but when I'm doing these challenges I feel very lucky to be a part of it and be a part of 'Team Blind Dave'.

"I've got a fantastic team around me who are all willing to give me their time and enable me to do what I'd like to do.

"It's the adventure, the pain and pleasure, the craziness and everything else that goes into it. I hope the stories give people a lot of laughs and shock them.

"I could be sat on the settee, but I'd rather be on the back of a bike riding through another country."

A team of family, friends and supporters will be travelling to Germany with Dave for the journey to take turns riding the bike alongside him.

Dave pictured in 2017 with some of his medals for completing his fundraising runs

Dave, who lost his sight at the age of 20, has already raised more than £200,000 for the Albion Foundation, who work with disabled children and is hoping to add to that total.

Despite his incredible fundraising achievements, Dave is still as humble as ever.

He added: "£3 million is a considerable amount of money and funding is obviously important. But for me, I like to feel that I've raised awareness for the charity and I think that's just as important.

"The Albion Foundation is a fabulous organisation that helps with all manner of things, including blind kids football, wheelchair football, special needs, underprivileged children and much more.

"If the kids can see us start and finish and still smile then I am hoping it brings them on and they think if the blind old codger can do that, what can I do?"

Dave's newest challenge has a number of people backing it, including former Albion player, James Morrison.

WATCH: When Dave met Jimmy Morrison

James said: "I've known Dave for 10 years now, ever since I first joined the club he was always around and he's a pleasure to be around, he's a great example of always being happy in himself.

"800 miles is no short distance and it will be a great achievement for him and we want to support him and such a great cause."

Earlier this year a film was released called 7 Days detailing Dave's life story and fundraising exploits.

To donate to the fundraiser, visit Blind Dave's JustGiving page.

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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