Tyne & Wear

Pc blinded by Raoul Moat in Northumberland charity walk

Hundreds of fund-raisers ignored the rain to join the policeman blinded by gunman Raoul Moat for a charity walk.

Pc David Rathband, 42, led the sponsored walk on the Northumberland coast to promote his Blue Lamp Foundation.

Among about 300 people taking part was Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne, who is the charity's patron.

The Northumbria officer was shot in the face by the gunman as he sat in a patrol car in July.

The friendship walk, between Seaton Sluice and Blyth, was the idea of people who joined up on Facebook to show their support for Mr Rathband.

'Phenomenal courage'

Members of his family and fellow police officers joined supporters. Some of them wore blindfolds, which was Mr Rathband's idea, to highlight the challenges faced by blind people.

Mr Bannatyne said: "Who would not want to support this? David's courage since he was blinded has been phenomenal.

Image caption About 300 people took part despite the heavy rain

"He asked me to be patron of the charity and I thought it was a good idea, then he invited me to walk four miles up the coast with him, blindfolded.

"What he did not tell me was that it would be pouring down, but if he can do it, then we all can."

The officer who led the Moat investigation, Ch Supt Neil Adamson, said: "Knowing David for who he is and understanding what he has gone through, his positivity and his desire to help other people is an example to us all."

Mr Rathband aims to raise £1m through the Blue Lamp Foundation to give direct financial help to injured police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

After the shooting, Mr Rathband said that he "bore no malice" towards Moat, who shot himself in Rothbury, Northumberland, following a week-long manhunt.

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