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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Blind hovercraft pilot's sea trip
Colin McArthur
Colin McArthur said: "It was fantastic"
A blind charity worker has piloted a 130-seat hovercraft across one of the world's busiest waterways.

Colin McArthur, 56, who lost his sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) 20 years ago, steered the Hovertravel craft from the Isle of Wight for a 20-minute trip.

"It was fantastic. The pilot briefed me for about 20 minutes about what to do and then he took it off the sands, past Ryde pier and let me loose," he said.

Mr McArthur, from Sandown, carried out the challenge to raise awareness of RP.

This event is about getting RP into the public mind
Colin McArthur

Under the guidance of a professional pilot, Mr McArthur steered the craft from Ryde seafront to the edge of the Solent.

Mr McArthur, who now works for the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society (BRPS), said: "As a child I had very poor eyesight and went blind in the late 1980s.

"It was then that I vowed I would do my utmost to get my eyesight back and worked in various positions within the charity to eventually become fundraising manager.

"This event is about getting RP into the public mind because in the near future we will need to start competing for government funding for further research and NHS treatments."

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