Blind North-east man in charity half marathon run

Neil Skene and his guide Alan Coull will be competing in the half marathon.
Neil Skene and his guide Alan Coull will be competing in the half marathon.

A North-east running enthusiast, who is registered blind, is preparing to run his eighth half marathon to raise money for blind and deaf people.

Neil Skene, from Inverurie, is fundraising co-ordinator for North East Sensory Services (NESS), and will take part in the Great Aberdeen Run half marathon alongside guide runner Alan Coull on August 26.

Neil said: “Without the support of our guide runners, we would not be able to take part.

“We rely heavily on them to verbally and physically communicate with us, indicating twists and turns in the road, as well as letting us know if there are people or obstacles ahead.

“We really appreciate their commitment to support us, they don’t just run with us on the day of the event, they give up dedicated time for months in advance to help us prepare.”

The Great Aberdeen Run is one of Neil’s favourites.

He said: “You get to run on the streets of Aberdeen with thousands of other runners.

“The atmosphere is electric, keeping you motivated to finish the race in good time.”

Graham Findlay, chief executive officer for NESS said that Neil, who has participated in numerous races, including half marathon and marathons, was an inspiration for anyone considering getting off the couch, dusting off the trainers and donning the running attire for a day of sporting fun.

Graham added: “We are delighted to be part of the Great Aberdeen Run, where all ages and abilities can participate and fundraise for local charities.

“We are encouraging others to get involved in the event by joining the NESS team and help raise money for the charity, which supports more than 6,000 blind and deaf people in the North-east.”

NESS has a limited amount of free charity places available and participants will receive a NESS T-shirt, as well as a range of other goodies and benefits.

Also participating in the NESS team is Kerry Robbins, whose son is deaf and receives support from the Young People’s Sensory Service (YPSS) programme at NESS, which works with children and young people.

Kerry, will compete in her first 10k to help raise vital funds for the charity, as a thank you for the support the family has received.

YPSS provides a vital service for young people aged 0-18 with a visual or hearing impairment, encouraging children to learn new life skills, make friends and have fun.

For more information or to run in aid of NESS, call Neil Skene at NESS on 0345 27 12345, or email neil.skene@nesensoryservices.org