AN Army veteran who vowed being blinded in Iraq would not hold him back is preparing to cycle the length of the country, guided by his pilot rider from Delamere.

Craig Lundberg, 33, lost his sight after he was hit by rocket-propelled grenades while serving with the Duke of Lancaster regiment Second Battalion in Iraq in March 2007.

Twelve years on, the now father-of-three, from Liverpool, will be cycling on a tandem with Delamere cyclist Callum Edge, from Lands End to John O’Groats next month.

Craig also sustained wounds to his arm and face when he was injured in the attack on a rooftop in Basra.

He lost his sight completely, despite efforts to save his right eye, which had shrapnel in, and now has two prosthetic eyes.

Then just 21, he had to leave the Army and, after his discharge from hospital, went to stay at the Ovingdean centre set up by charity Blind Veterans UK in Brighton.

He said: “I dealt with it OK, I think I knew the risks of being in Iraq and at the end of the day I was not a conscript, I was a volunteer.”

The lance corporal, who joined the Army at 16, met veterans from the Second World War during his stay.

He remembers one man, who had been blinded in the Battle of El Alamein aged 19, who told him – ‘don’t let your blindness determine who you are’.

He said the veteran, in his 80s, had run a successful business, had children and grandchildren and was at the centre to learn how to send emails.

“I sat there and thought: ‘why can’t I better him? What’s my excuse not to have a better life?” Craig said.

“The society I live in is a lot more accepting than it was for him, so I thought I should better him, in a positive way.”

Since leaving the Army, Mr Lundberg’s achievements include running the London Marathon, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and playing blind football for England.

He and partner Nicola Carter, who have children Ben, seven, Max, three, and one-year-old Sofia, run an estate agency together and he also has a portfolio of property.

His next challenge, the tandem ride, which will start on June 11, and should take 10 days, is to raise money for Blind Veterans UK and Vision Aid Overseas.

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Craig will be guided along on the trip by pilot rider Callum, 56, from Delamere, as well as a team of other cyclists.

Callum’s vital role in the challenge will see him sitting at the front of the bike and communicating to Craig what’s ahead.

Craig said: “I think what Craig is doing for Blind Veterans UK is proving what is achievable for a blind person and I think that, in a way, is as valuable as the fundraising.”

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