Blind and in pain, Anne will still do a charity walk

A blind former head teacher will be embarking on a walk of the bridges over the River Thames to raise cash for a children’s hospice.

Anne O’Connell, 65, from East Ham, will be walking a shortened five-mile version of the ten Bridge route with her 21-month-old black Labrador guide dog Nessie.

The Dublin-born former head, who currently works as a magistrate, will walk from the National Theatre at Waterloo Bridge to the finish line at The Scoop at More, near the Tower of London on May 15.

She is hoping to overcome a significant back problem which has plagued her since she completed the London Marathon - also blind - in 2006.

Completing the walk will be a significant victory for her.

She said: “People do whatever they can in the situation in which they find themselves. I am determined to do this walk for Richard House. I may be slow but I will get there and if I find people are ahead of me, I won’t mind.”

Anne suffered with poor eyesight her whole life before finally losing all vision 13 years ago. She also suffers from an out-of-shape skeleton and has been unable to stand straight for periods of time after finishing the 2006 London Marathon.

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And while she admits this is a difficult situation for a formerly active walker, she says battling through the pain will be worth it to raise money for Richard House.

Ben Alonso, community fundraiser at Richard House, said: “Anne O’Connell is a truly inspirational case and proves what can be done against the odds.”

For more information on the walk, visit or email Ben at