Leeds charity train pull is on the right tracks

Sponsored train pull at Middleton Railways in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Sponsored train pull at Middleton Railways in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
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PULLING a 21-and-a-half tonne diesel locomotive along a 60 metre stretch of track would be hard work for anyone.

But when you’re registered blind, the challenge is even tougher – as charity fundraiser Dave Subham knows from previous experience.

The dad-of-three organised the Great Charity Train Pull, which took place at Middleton Railway in Leeds on Saturday, in a bid to raise £5,000 to fund a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

A total of 30 volunteers joined him for the two train pulls, with teams of 15 using ropes to drag the John Alcock diesel locomotive up the track.

Dave, 43, from Bramley, suffers from a genetic disease which has taken 88 per cent of his vision and will eventually leave him totally blind and deaf.

But he has devoted himself to raising money for a variety of good causes over the years – and this train pull was his second at Middleton Railway.

The dad-of-three said: “Two years ago I used to drive a 40ft wagon and now I can’t do that. But I don’t want to sit around and mope. I want to go out there and see if I can help somebody.

“I’m doing this event for Guide Dogs because I have an eye disorder.

“There’s no cure for me so there’s no point in doing anything for myself; but if I can help someone else, that’s my goal. I just like to help other people.”

It was 2000 when Dave was diagnosed with retintis pigmentosa, also known as Usher Syndrome, which has steadily reducing his vision and hearing.

But he began his fundraising in 1990 with a lorry pull after a work colleague underwent a triple heart bypass.

He then raised £2,500 from another lorry pull for the Victoria Lee Smile Appeal, which was backed by the YEP.

His first train pull took place in 2000, the year he was diagnosed, when he helped severely disabled youngster Jason Crawshaw swim with dolphins.

His efforts on Saturday were supported by his daughters, Ria, 16, Kelly, six, and Keira, four, his partner Lisa and his guide dog Arthur.

Dave added: “The pull was fantastic and it was great to see so many volunteers. Everyone has been brilliant and I’m so grateful to Middleton Railway and everyone who took part.”

Train puller and close friend Rebecca Stones, 31, from Bramley, added: “It was tough but it was a great experience. Dave has put so much effort into this event and we’re so proud. It’s hard to put into words how amazing he is.”

Dave is also organising a charity fundraising night at Stanningley Rugby Club on Saturday, to help him reach his total target for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Entry costs £1 and tickets are available from the rugby club.

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