93-year-old to rework popular poems for 2.6 Challenge

Posted: Sunday 26 April 2020

Olive, aged 93 is set to use her wordsmith skills to take part in the 2.6 Challenge and raise vital funds for people with macular disease. 

Starting today, Olive Blundell is going to be indulging her love of language to compose original poetry or re-work well-known popular pieces of verse, in support of the Macular Society.

Olive decided to put pen to paper for the challenge after being inspired by the fundraising efforts of war veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £27 million for the NHS by completing 100 laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday. Despite her sight loss, Olive has continued to write. Some of her previous literary efforts have seen her creating her own versions of nursery rhymes including ‘The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe’ and ‘Little Boy Blue’, and updating lyrics to the hymn, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’.

She said: “What Captain Tom has done is really wonderful, and I tried to think of what I might be able to do as a fundraising challenge. Although I only have limited sight now and walking around is also quite difficult, I still love to write and have had some of my poetry published in national newspapers previously.

“So I thought I could try and write something every day and see if I could raise some money by doing that.”

The 2.6 Challenge has been created by the organisers of the UK’s top mass-participation sporting events. It officially launches on today: the date the Virgin Money London Marathon was due to take place. As part of the challenge, the Macular Society is asking people to take part in an activity of their choice, based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 to raise vital funds towards research into macular disease. The only requirement is that participants must follow Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

Olive said: “I haven’t really set myself a specific target; but starting from Sunday, I’m going to try and write at least one piece every day for as long as I can, to raise as much money as I can.

“I’d certainly like to raise as much as Captain Tom, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that! It would be lovely though if everyone could try to do something to help fundraise for charities like the Macular Society at this time.”

Susie McCallum, Macular Society community and events fundraising manager, said: “Although the coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on day-to-day life all over the world, it doesn’t alter that fact that vital research is still urgently needed to find a cure for macular disease. The only way to beat this cruel and isolating condition is by funding as much scientific research as we can to eradicate it once and for all.

“At the same time, people with macular disease need our support more than ever during the lockdown period, so it’s crucial that we can offer them all of the help and assistance they need over the telephone or online while our face-to-face services are suspended.

“We’re really grateful to Olive and everyone else who has signed up to take part in a 2.6 Challenge event for us. Although the challenge officially launches today, people can take part at any time.”

If you would like to sponsor Olive, please visit her Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/olive-s-2-6-challenge2020

For more information on taking part in a 2.6 Challenge event for the Macular Society