Blind RNIB service user walking the Camino de Santiago to raise funds for charity

Richard Simpson, who was registered blind four years ago, set off on the 500-mile trail on Saturday 1 April

Richard Simpson

A man who was registered blind four years ago has set off on an unassisted walk on the Camino de Santiago to raise money for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Richard Simpson (pictured), 61, set off on the 500-mile Camino Francés path, part of the Camino de Santiago ancient pilgrim route, on Saturday 1 April.

The Camino de Santiago is a large network of routes that stretches across northern Spain and into France.

Simpson, from Greenwich, South London, will be walking unsupported and using his white cane to guide him throughout the challenge.

He set off from St Jean-Pied-du-Port, France, and will end in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

Simpson was registered blind four years ago, after previously being diagnosed as severely sight impaired.

Since being registered blind he has taken on several challenges to raise money for the RNIB, including walking the almost 900 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, completing the 150-mile London Loop, and kayaking 180 miles from Lechlade-on-Thames , Gloucestershire, to Greenwich.

Simpson said: “The Camino de Santiago has been on my bucket list for a while. I’ve completed several fundraising challenges, but I’ve never done one that’s off-road. It will be difficult to navigate the off-road surface with my guide cane, but I’m up for the challenge and keen to raise money for RNIB.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to meeting new people on my journey. I’m usually solo for my challenges, but I’ve never felt alone due to the supportive public. I’ve met people from all walks of life, including a few celebrities.”

Simpson is a regular user of the RNIB’s services, including the Talking Books service.

He is hoping to use his walk to raise money to help the charity continue to support blind and partially sighted people. His Justgiving page is aiming to raise £10,000 for the charity.

Chris Perrin, head of supporter-led fundraising at the RNIB, said: “We would like to wish Richard the best of luck with this challenge. He has conquered countless fundraising challenges in aid of RNIB and we are incredibly thankful for all he has raised for the charity so far.”