West Bromwich blind runner receives OBE from Princess Royal

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Dave HeeleyImage source, Dave Heeley
Image caption,
Dave Heeley received his OBE at Windsor Castle from the Princess Royal

A blind marathon runner has been presented with an OBE by the Princess Royal.

Dave Heeley, known as "Blind Dave", from West Bromwich, was recognised in the Queen's 2020 Birthday Honours for services to charitable fundraising.

Among the challenges he has undertaken are running marathons on seven continents in seven days.

The 63-year-old said receiving his OBE was an "incredible" occasion.

"It still hasn't sunk in," he added.

Mr Heeley gradually lost his sight throughout adulthood, but it spurred him on to more extreme fundraising efforts through which he has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He and his wife, Deb, attended the ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

After receiving the honour, he said, he was able to talk with Princess Anne about some of his challenges.

Image caption,
Mr Heeley was honoured for services to charitable fundraising

"It was fantastic," he said.

"When I had the email come through last year...I thought 'someone is taking the mick here'... it was one of the few times in my life I have been speechless.

"I think the realisation hit when I was stood there in front of Princess Anne and she pinned it on me, then it was like 'wow, this is really happening'.

"It is just fabulous. Now I have got it, I want to tell the world, it is incredible."

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