Blind veteran Bob Hill from Chorley to fly down world's fastest zip line to celebrate 90th birthday

A blind veteran from Chorley will celebrate his 90th birthday by taking on the fastest zip line in the world.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 12:04 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:06 am
The Zip World Velocity in Wales

People have been known to fly down the Zip World Velocity in Wales as fast as 100mph.

Bob Hill, 89, decided to opt for a more unconventional way of celebrating his birthday as a way of raising money for charity Blind Veterans UK.

It was when a friend suggested this particular activity to Bob that he knew he had found what he was looking for.

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Bob Hill

Bob said: “90 years old is a significant birthday, so to celebrate I wanted to do something suitably significant.

“I was going to do a parachute jump but my doctor was having none of it.

“I was then told about the zip line and thought right, this looks interesting.”

It was in 2012 when Bob first contracted an eye condition called glaucoma.

Bob Hill

Unfortunately it later developed into age related macular degeneration (ARMD), leaving him with severely limited vision in both of his eyes.

With the support from Blind Veterans UK, Bob has been able to achieve a degree independence, in spite of his sight loss.

He said: “They’ve provided me with several pieces of equipment, such as reading magnifiers, along with recreational trips with other veterans who are being supported by the charity.

“They’ve also provided me with support since my wife sadly passed away.

“I truly appreciate everything they’ve done for me.

“I look forward to being able to give something back to them.”

Bob is no stranger to fundraising, having celebrated his 80th birthday in a similarly philanthropic style.

Recounting his celebrations a decade ago he said: “For my 80th, we held a raffle a hotel.

“We went all out and laid on a big buffet and told our guests to bring prizes.

“The event was a fantastic success and we raised around £1,000.”

This time around, Bob is hoping to go above and beyond the £1,000 mark and is confident his home network will help him reach his goal.

He said: “I know it might be a bit ambitious, but I’ve got a really good base of friends and I’m also a member of the local church.

“I’m sure that if I just let enough people know that Bob Hill going to be flying down the fastest zip line in the world, we should have no problem in zipping north of £1,000.”

To support Bob as he prepares to take on the zip line, visit

Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 and the charity’s initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in the First World War.

However the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning WWII to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more than a century, the charity has been providing free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision-impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.