A MAN with a severe spinal condition will walk 54 miles from London to Brighton, wearing a three stone Army uniform.
Ian Houghton, 52, was born with spina bifida, a fault in the development of the spine and spinal cord, and has never walked such a distance.
Undaunted, he will also wear the full Army kit of a First World War officer.
Mr Houghton will be raising money for the charity Blind Veterans UK, which organises the walk and provides support, rehabilitation, training and recreation to blind veterans, regardless of when they served, or how they lost their sight.
Mr Houghton, from Leigh, said: “This is a real personal challenge. I was born with spina bifida and have never walked this far before.
“I know I’m extremely lucky I can walk and move freely after I had surgery at six months old. I livewith bad lower back pain and am incontinent because of it. I also have double reflex, so if I bang my left knee I feel pain in my right knee.
“I value the use of my legs quite a bit because so many are stuck in a wheelchair.”
Mr Houghton’s surgery to sever nerve endings and refuse them was a success and he had yearly checkups at Kings College Hospital, London, until he was 13.
He leads a normal life and works as a security officer.
He said: “I’m not ex-Forces.
I’d always wanted a career in the Forces, but it wasn’t to be, due to my condition.
“I’m a First World War living history enthusiast and, since this year will be the centenary of the war, I intend to take part in the walk in First World War kit and will hopefully be joined by a couple of fellow enthusiasts.
“Taking part will be about remembering my great-great uncle William Rudge and a distant cousin, Reginald Rudge, who both served and died in the Great War, as well as all those others who have sacrificed so much over the years for us.”
Mr Houghton will wear an original 1923 Officer’s Pattern uniform.
He said: “I aim to do the walk in under 24 hours.”
The event takes place over the weekend of June 21 and 22.
To find out more about the walk, and to sign up, visit: walk100.org.uk/sign-up and to sponsor Ian go to just giving.com/Ian-Houghton3