Moat Pc calls for public support
The Northumbria Police officer blinded by gunman Raoul Moat said it is time for the British public to "step up to the plate" to support emergency services personnel injured in the line of duty.
Pc David Rathband, who is raising funds for the Blue Lamp Foundation, has organised a sponsored blindfold walk on October 3.
Hundreds of people have already signed up for the event, to be held along the Northumberland coast.
The injured officer was speaking at Blyth Rugby and Cricket Club, where he used to play cricket.
He said: "The philosophy is to have a nice friendly walk with people who care about their environment and about what happens in that environment.
"Early on there was a class of people who were hailing Moat as a legend or some sort of hero, and I never commented on it. But it is not right what happened to me and it is not for any person serving - whether as a policeman, in the fire brigade or as a paramedic - to suffer a criminal injury at work.
"The walk is for the kind of right-minded people who think that what happened to me is wrong. There are people out there who put their lives on the line and it is time for the British public to step up to the plate and support us."
Pc Rathband was shot in July by on-the-run murderer Moat while he was on duty. The 42-year-old lost the sight in both eyes after he was blasted while sitting unarmed in a patrol car on an A1 roundabout on July 4.
Pc Rathband likened the shooting to having his "head inside a tin can with the biggest firework you can imagine. It was absolutely unbearable".
But he insisted he has "no malice towards the man who shot me".