A DAREDEVIL Second World War commando will celebrate his 92nd birthday by riding the world’s longest zip wire.
Former Royal Marine and Crawley resident Alan Saunders will take on the challenge in aid of Blind Veterans UK.
Mr Saunders, who is registered blind, will be facing speeds of 100mph when he goes on the mile-long, 500ft-high wire.
Mr Saunders is one of the few remaining survivors of the 1942 Dieppe Raid, a daring assault on a vital German-held port in Normandy.
Despite the Allies failing to take Dieppe, it is still remembered as one of the most ambitious military operations of the war.
He said: “I have no bitterness at all about what happened. These sorts of things are all part of life’s grand scenarios.
“You just got on and prepared for the next job. At the end of the day, I survived but, of course, thousands did not.
“I must have been mad to join the Marines during the war – and doing the velocity zip wire shows I am still mad.”
Mr Saunders now suffers from age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, all of which have slowly resulted in him being registered blind.
Since 2010, he has been helped by the charity which has provided him with free and comprehensive support to live independently with sight loss.
He said: “I first heard of Blind Veterans UK in the late 1920s, when it used to be called St Dunstan’s. I never thought that I’d be supported by Blind Veterans UK myself, nearly 90 years later.
“I’m dedicating my velocity zip wire challenge to all the veterans who’ve been supported by the charity.”
To support Mr Saunders on his zip wire challenge on September 17, visit www.just giving.com/alanszipwire challenge or text SAUN92 £3 to 70070.