A former soldier who is blind in one eye and temporarily lost the sight in the other is taking on two huge challenges for charity.

Ian Slack completely lost the sight in his right eye in 1997 during a five-a-side football match while serving as an officer with the Royal Engineers, causing him to be medically discharged.

The 47-year-old, of Broad Road, Braintree, then contracted microsporidia, a parasitic infection, in his left eye while playing rugby during a trip to Asia in May 2012.

It left him completely blind for six weeks.

Since recovering, the father-of-three has raised more than £7,000 for Blind Veterans UK - a national charity for blind ex-service men and women that helped him.

A few years on and he is now determined to raise even more money after his dad, Harold, lost his sight last year due to age related macular degeneration - a painless eye condition that leads to the gradual loss of central vision.

On August 4, he will tackle Unite and Bike for Heroes - a 325 mile cycle ride across northern France and Belgium.

The five-day challenge takes participants past World War One battlefields and memorials to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Before then, he and three friends James Crysell, of Braintree, Mark Coull, of Cressing, and Matthew Walker, manager of Braintree-based Cycles UK, will tackle an even bigger challenge.

The quartet will attempt the Chase the Sun cycle - a 200 mile coast-to-coast ride on the UK’s longest day, June 21.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/FSS2

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