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Running in the family: Blind Dave stays fit during lockdown thanks to daughters

By Andrew Turton | West Bromwich | Coronavirus | Published:

It runs in the family! 'Blind Dave' Heeley has been putting his best foot forward despite the lockdown with the help of his daughters.

'Blind Dave' Heeley with his daughters Georgie-Lee and Dannie who have stepped in start running with him

The West Bromwich charity champion's regular guide Tony Ellis travelled from Shrewsbury to go on training runs daily.

But with lockdown rules banning people from different households mixing the pair had to scrap plans for their runs.

This left Dave in a quandary as he needs a guide runner to help him keep in shape for his charity exploits.

Thankfully, his daughters, sixth form student Dannie, aged 17, and 18-year-old university student Georgie-Lee, stepped in to help.

They hold a running cord while Dave holds the other and they lead him, including past any potential hazards like kerbs and potholes.

Blind Dave with his regular running guide Tony

"It is no mean feat guiding and especially at their age," he said.

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"They have done well as it takes some concentration and they've really helped me.

"We did a first run round and got to about a mile and they said they enjoyed that.

"We've now got up to five miles, and they are well chuffed."

As an added incentive, the team behind the Great Birmingham Run, which was cancelled amid the outbreak, said they would give out medals to those still completing a 10k distance.

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"They are loving it. Now they are saying 'come on Dad we going for a run tonight!'" he said.

"We're running and talking and having a laugh. Even though I can't see, it's the enjoyment of being outside, that uneven footpath, the thrill of it."

'Blind Dave' Heeley with his daughters Georgie-Lee and Dannie who have stepped in start running with him

The 62-year-old is also an ambassador for Move More Sandwell, a project to encourage people to be active especially during the lockdown.

And to help raise awareness Dave, who has raised £3 million for charity over the years, set up a mini, fun triathlon in his back garden to celebrate it.

It came as the huge West Brom fan should have been staging his next charity challenge - Escape from Colditz - last month.

Dave would have been riding a tandem bike 800 miles from the former prisoner of war camp in Germany to The Hawthorns to raise money for The Albion Foundation.

"It took us 18 months to organise and we have had to cancel everything but luckily, as they would be, people have been very understanding," said Dave.

But now that has been put back until next year with Dave unsure he will feature at charity or speaking events until towards the end of this year.

Dave is also hoping to soon have news on a new guide dog after his dog Seamus died on Christmas Day last year.

Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or andrew.turton@expressandstar.co.uk

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