Derek McDonald


A visually impaired veteran is bravely taking on the incredible challenge of abseiling 165 feet from the iconic Forth Rail Bridge this Sunday, to raise vital funds for Edinburgh based charity Royal Blind.

Derek McDonald, 75, from Morningside, will freefall abseil SAS-style from The Forth Bridge down onto the sandy beach of South Queensferry.  The abseil is going to be a real family affair, as Derek will be abseiling alongside his daughter Karen, son-in-law Steven, granddaughter Camilla and her boyfriend Andy.

Derek is a member of Royal Blind’s sister charity Scottish War Blinded, which provides free support and assistance to veterans of the armed forces who have a visual impairment, and decided to fundraise for Royal Blind to show his support for the life-changing work of its services for visually impaired young people from across the country.

Derek said:

“I know what it is like to lose your eyesight, but I am lucky that having been sighted I understand and “see” what I am looking at.  Many children at the Royal Blind School and other groups supported by Royal Blind are not so lucky and need all the help they can get.  I jumped at the chance of helping Royal Blind and was delighted when my family immediately offered to join me in the abseil. We hope to raise a lot of funds and hope that people will sponsor our team to help us change lives.”

Gemma Gillespie, Fundraising Officer for Royal Blind, said:

“We are so delighted that Derek and his family have chosen to support Royal Blind and it’s wonderful to have three generations taking part in this once in a lifetime challenge.  All of the funds raised will make a huge difference to the lives of the visually impaired and disabled people Royal Blind supports throughout the country, and we are so grateful for this fantastic support.”

You can show your support for Derek’s incredible effort by making a donation to his JustGiving page:

To find out more about the work of Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded, visit