A Royal Artillery veteran is preparing to take on a marathon in aid of the charity which brought him "back to life" after he lost his sight.

David Cranson, 59, will run the Brighton Marathon on April 6 to raise money for Ovingdean-based Blind Veterans UK.

David served with the Royal Artillery for four years in the 1970s. It was not until almost 20 years later, in 1988, that he lost his sight as a result of bilateral optic atrophy, a genetic condition that causes deterioration of the optic nerve.

In 2007 he joined Blind Veterans UK, the charity which provides free, lifelong emotional and practical support to blind ex-servicemen and women.

David said: "For many years I was going nowhere. I had no life and I genuinely didn't care about what happened to me.

"I began losing my eyesight and I felt extremely sorry for myself. For a long time I felt very low.

"I was very reluctant to join the charity because I found it hard to accept that I needed help with my sight loss. It was actually seven years after I was first offered support by the charity that I was willing to become one of its beneficiaries. And doing so was really the before and after moment in my life.

"I cannot put into words the impact the charity has had on me. They took me in and saw something in me, the potential in me really, that I had not seen before - and that was it.

"I really feel as though Blind Veterans UK rescued me - they brought me back to life. I have no doubt that I would not be here if it wasn't for them.

"I have learnt so much and come such a long way with them. Through them I have become really active and fit, having not done any physical activities for 20 years!"

Since joining the charity, David, from County Durham, has already completed four London triathlons and will tackle his fifth later this year. He has also completed two Great South Runs and the London Marathon.

He said: "Taking part in the Brighton Marathon in aid of Blind Veterans UK is my way of saying thank you, and giving something back for every bit of support, encouragement and training they have given me."

Entries for the Brighton Marathon have now closed. Anyone with a ballot place who would like to raise funds for Blind Veterans UK can email fundraising@blindveterans.org.uk.