Guide Dogs presents the Summer 2010 issue of Forward, the quarterly magazine of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association




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FORWARD: Summer 2010.


Guide Dogs presents the Summer 2010 issue of Forward, the quarterly magazine of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.


Introduction.


This document contains every part of the print version of Forward, and in the same order as that used in the print edition.


The contents, in order, are as follows:


01 THE TEAM: A list of everyone who’s involved with putting this magazine together, plus our contact details.


02 RICHARD’S WELCOME: Meet Guide Dogs’ new Chief Executive


03 NEWS: A new technowatch forum, building starts at the new National Breeding Centre, official opening of the Guide Dog Training School Atherton and the theme for Guide Dog Week 2010


04 A FITTING TRIBUTE: How Ann Moorhouse honoured her husband John’s memory


05 LEARNING ABOUT GUIDE DOGS: Richard Leaman meets staff and volunteers


06 A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…: Technical Canine Research Worker, Rachel Moxon


07 GO WALKIES WITH OATIE: “go walkies for Guide Dogs” step out across the UK


08 A GARDEN FOR GUIDE DOGS: A unique show garden at BBC Gardeners’ World


09 A NEW ARRIVAL FOR FUNDRAISING: New life-sized collecting box makes its debut


10 MARATHON SUCCESS FOR TEAM GUIDE DOGS: Hundreds of runners raise thousands for Guide Dogs


11 “GET TOGETHER”… A WINNING THEME!: Themed fundraising inspires everyone


12 BACK TO SCHOOL FOR GUIDE DOGS!: Schoolchildren learn about the challenges of sight loss


13 MP’S GET ON BOARD WITH TALKING BUSES: Update on the campaign


14 RESEARCH ROUND-UP: A summary of some recent research projects


15 BED AND BREAKFAST FOR DOGS: Spotlight on the role of volunteer boarders


16 AN INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP: Meet Maggie Galbarczyk and guide dog Ingmar, an inspiring story of ambition and determination


17 YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND: New pilot service could help prospective guide dog owners


18 GUIDE DOG OF THE YEAR 2010: Last chance to enter


19 COMPETITIONS: Will you be a winner?


20 THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS: Fantastic fundraising from around the UK


21 IN GOOD COMPANY: Guide Dogs and businesses team up


22 WHAT’S ON?: Dates for your diary


23 WE’LL NEVER FORGET: Tributes to guide dogs who will be sadly missed


24 LETTERS: Have your say


25 IN MEMORY: Forward obituaries


26 PROMOTIONS: A roundup of the promotional features that appear in different locations in the print version of this issue of Forward.


27 NEW PARTNERSHIPS: Bridget Carr and Michele – just one of many new partnerships


28 CONTACT DETAILS: List of phone numbers and contact details arising from the articles in this edition of Forward Magazine.

[End of contents]


On the front cover there is a photograph of Maggie Galbarczyk with her guide dog Ingmar. Maggie is sitting on the grass having a rest at The Birmingham Botanical gardens and Glasshouse; she is wearing a white top with a light and dark blue striped shirt over the top and a pair of black jeans. Maggie is sitting with one of her legs crossed and the other stretched out; Ingmar is lying next to Maggie with his head resting on her leg. Ingmar is wearing his high visibility working harness.


The main caption on the cover reads: “An international partnership meet Maggie Galbarczyk and guide dog Ingmar”.


Other captions on the cover read: “Meet Richard Leaman Guide Dogs’ new Chief Executive” and “A new arrival for fundraising life-sized collection box makes its debut”.


Running along the foot of the page is a straight gold line; inserted in the line is the Guide Dogs’ logo in white.


01 The team.


Editor: Wendy Murgatroyd

Editorial line: 0118 9838317


Founding Editor: The late Captain Nikolai Liakhoff MBE FRZS


Obituaries: Anne Gillow 0118 9838228


Contributors: Lucy Miron, Eifion Rees, Justine Harding, Lorna Catling, Hannah Robertson, Matthew Roberts, Hannah South, Vicky Bell


Designed by: Taurus www.taurus-solutions.co.uk


Published by: The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association


Contributions: We reserve the right to edit or refuse. Send items to Forward at the Head Office address or e-mail forward@guidedogs.org.uk. We cannot acknowledge every item sent.


Advertisements: To advertise, please contact Wendy Murgatroyd on 0118 9838317. Guide Dogs cannot be liable to any person for loss or damage incurred or suffered as a result of his/her accepting or offering to accept goods or services contained in any advertisement or promotion reproduced in Forward. Readers should make appropriate enquiries before incurring any expense or contractual obligation.


Forward is also available in Braille, large print, audio CD and as an e-mail text attachment. It can also be downloaded from the Guide Dogs website in text only form, or read as a turnpage. We can also provide Forward in alternative languages on request, call 0118 9838138. For mailing enquiries, call 0870 2406993.


Registered Head Office: The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Hillfields, Burghfield Common, Reading RG7 3YG

&Tel: 0118 9835555

Fax: 0118 9835433

Website: www.guidedogs.org.uk

E-mail: guidedogs@guidedogs.org.uk


(copyright) 2010 Registered charity in England and Wales (209617) and in Scotland (SCO38979).


Please recycle this magazine


There is a head and shoulders shot of Wendy, who has dark blonde shoulder length hair. Wendy has been photographed outside with a backdrop of green leaves. Wendy is wearing a baby pink top, and looking straight at the camera smiling.

[End of first article]


02 Richard’s welcome.


Welcome to the Summer issue of Forward.


Let me start by thanking all of you for making me feel so very welcome in my first few weeks at Guide Dogs. I have been travelling around the UK meeting staff and volunteers, both from Guide Dogs – and some of the other organisations we work alongside – and each and every one of you has hugely impressed me with your commitment and passion for your work.


As you will discover later in this edition, I have visited Tollgate, Leamington, and Atherton, Dogs for Disabled, RNIB and Vision 2020, as well as attending the “Guide to Services” launch and the “Talking Buses” parliamentary reception. I have also experienced a blindfold walk, giving me just a taste of the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face trying to get around and live normally. I now know, from first hand experience, what a truly outstanding organisation Guide Dogs is and how, every day, we dramatically change people’s lives. I feel genuinely hugely privileged to have been asked to lead such an amazing organisation.


Over the next few months and years, my overriding priority is to ensure that we deliver the best possible mobility support for many more blind and partially sighted people. There is much work to be done to ensure this happens and of course it would not be remotely possible without the incredible selfless support we get from our volunteers. I look forward to meeting more of you in the months ahead and hearing your views and ideas.


I hope you enjoy this edition of Forward, particularly the articles on fundraising and campaigning where I know you all play a vital role.


Richard


Richard is pictured at the top of the page; he has short grey hair and is outside with a backdrop of trees and green leaves. Richard is wearing a blue shirt and green tie, underneath a black pinstriped suit, and is looking straight at the camera and smiling.


At the foot of article there is a photograph of Richard Leaman with guide dog puppy Wren. Richard is crouching down next to Wren, a small black Labrador.

[End of second article]


03 News.


A royal opening at Atherton


The Guide Dog Training School Atherton has been open for business for over a year, but its official opening, attended by the charity’s patron, HRH Princess Alexandra, took place in May.


Accompanied by Chief Executive Richard Leaman and Chairman Tony Aston, Her Royal Highness took a tour of the kennels, before unveiling a plaque, and then spent time meeting staff and volunteers. Among them were Jean Berisford, who has looked after 102 retired guide dogs over 30 years, Kate Summerfield, who is currently walking her 36th puppy, and Tony and Ruth Warrington, who have been both fundraisers and puppy walkers since 1979.


Dog Care and Welfare Manager Pam Trewick said: “It was a great honour to have our patron open the site and she took a real interest in both the state-of-the-art facilities and the staff and volunteers, who work so hard to ensure we deliver top quality guide dogs.”


At the top of this page there is a photograph of Puppy walker Jan Harker and Puppy Walking Supervisor Sue Cole meeting HRH Princess Alexandra.


Making a difference


“I recently lost my guide dog and did not know who to turn to. I called the STEP service and spoke to a lovely listener who was very understanding and let me express my emotions. It’s an excellent service, I wish it had been there when I lost my previous dogs.”


These are the words of one grateful user of Guide Dogs’ confidential listening service, set up to support guide dog owners after the death or retirement of their guide dog. 14 more volunteer listeners – all guide dog owners themselves – are attending a rigorous training and assessment programme to increase the number of listeners available.


Call STEP on 0845 3727474 – calls are answered 8am to 10pm.


Technowatch – gadget reviews made easy


Guide Dogs is launching a unique central resource for blind and partially sighted people listing technologies and products from around the world to assist with mobility.


The online “one stop shop” will enable people to make informed choices when researching and purchasing gadgets. Not only will each gadget be listed with a description, price and contact details, there will also be reviews and ratings provided by blind and partially sighted people. In future, the website will list research papers on emerging technologies that may result in new products. Product categories are:

  • Wayfinding – which guide a visually impaired person through their environment and use satellite navigation.

  • Obstacle detection – using ultrasonic or laser sensors on white canes or other devices to enable the user to avoid obstacles.

  • Remote activated signs – which give the user information about the surrounding environment.


Users can read about the products and any reviews. By registering on the site, you can add a review and rating. Registered users can also add new products and research.


To find out more, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/technowatch.


Work begins on new National Breeding Centre


Building work has begun on Guide Dogs’ new National Breeding Centre in Bishops Tachbrook, Leamington Spa.


Contractors started work at the end of February on the state-of-the-art centre, which will be a flagship site for Guide Dogs, complete with visitor and educational facilities.


Guide Dogs will continue to operate from its current Tollgate House site, adjacent to the National Breeding Centre, until building work finishes in the summer of 2011.


Carol Warner, National Breeding Centre Operations Project Manager, said: “We’re delighted with this new development which will significantly contribute towards our aim to help more blind and partially sighted people get about independently. The new facilities will be fantastic for dogs, staff, volunteers and visitors.”


Tony Fitzgerald, Project Manager at West Midlands-based construction company Morgan Ashurst, said: “We’re really excited to have started work on this landmark project for Guide Dogs.” He added: “On all our projects we are keen to minimise our carbon footprint and we’ll be incorporating a host of environmentally-friendly features into the building such as renewable energy sources, including a biomass boiler and rainwater harvesting.”


At the foot of this article there is a picture of Carol Warner, National Breeding Centre Operations Project Manager and Tony Fitzgerald, Morgan Ashurst’s Project Manager. Carol is holding a tiny fawn-coloured puppy. Both Carol and Tony are wearing hard hats.


Eye to Eye – a unique conference for young people with a visual impairment


Eye to Eye, the first conference of its kind in the UK, aims to bring together families and professionals to improve support and services for young people with a visual impairment.


Co-hosted by Guide Dogs and the National Blind Children’s Society on 28 – 29 October 2010 in Birmingham, the conference connects young people with a visual impairment and their families with professionals from the clinical, social and education fields. It provides a unique opportunity for all parties to learn, exchange information, and discover what the real issues facing youngsters with visual impairment are today.


Tom Muldowney, Guide Dogs’ Head of Development said: “Our research shows that isolation is a key feature of life for a young person with sight loss. For parents, the issue is a lack of support, for the professionals, it’s all about resources, both human and financial. What’s so important about this conference is that it gives us a chance to get parents and professionals together in the same place as blind and partially sighted children and young people, helping us all to see eye to eye.”


To book a place, and for more information, including full details of speakers and workshops, visit www.eyetoeyeconference.com or call 0118 9838253.


Looking forward to Guide Dog Week


Guide Dog Week 2010 will focus on “extraordinary partnerships” and run from Saturday October 2 until Sunday October 10. It is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the partnerships that make Guide Dogs a life-changing charity.


As well as sharing the amazing stories of our guide dog partnerships, we’ll also be spotlighting the invaluable work of our volunteers and our groundbreaking collaborative work with other charities. With so much to shout about, this year Guide Dog Week will last nine days – plenty of time for everyone to join in the celebrations!


Richard Leaman, Chief Executive said: “This is my first Guide Dog Week since joining the organisation and I will be leading from the front to ensure every single member of staff gets out of their normal workplace to meet guide dog owners and volunteers, and help make Guide Dog Week 2010 our biggest and best ever.”


It’s a fair cop


Local guide dog owners have been working with Essex Police Training College, helping out in role plays on training days.


Guide Dogs is part of a Community Training Action Group, which has representatives from a range of local groups. The Essex Police Training College asks members to volunteer for the roleplays, which take place towards the end of the student officers’ training.


Recently guide dog owner Barbara Roberts played the part of a victim who has had her purse stolen while waiting outside a shop in a local shopping centre. The student officers then had to interview her, with an assessor observing. She explains: “The officers were always kind and considerate, but obviously a bit unsure how to question someone with sight loss.”


Guide Dogs’ Information Officer for the South East, Sue Rowen, speaking on behalf of Barbara and fellow guide dog owner volunteers June Maylin and Jane Pennick, said: “We all found it an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and the feedback we’ve had from the college and the student officers has been extremely positive. We’re sure the trainees will remember the experience when dealing with visually impaired people in the future and will feel confident in communicating with them.”


At the top of this article, there is a photograph of Shane Parker, Thelma Somers-Holt and Guide Dogs’ Information Officer for the South East Sue Rowen with her guide dog Layla.


Puppies on the buses


A national scheme, thought to be the only one of its kind in the UK, to help Guide Dogs train its guide dog puppies, was relaunched in Bristol in February. The scheme allows puppy walkers to travel for free on all First buses in the UK while training their puppies.


Learning about buses, and bus stations, is a core part of guide dog training. Thanks to the scheme, volunteer puppy walkers can take their puppies out by bus as many times as necessary, so dogs are accustomed to different sights, sounds and smells.


The free travel scheme saves Guide Dogs significant sums of money every year. Leon Daniels, First UK Bus’ Communication and Customer Service Director, said: “We are pleased that we’re able to play our part in helping to ensure that guide dogs can be trained effectively, and that we can save the charity money at the same time. We are committed to removing barriers for all disabled people, and we are working hard to ensure that all of our customers, regardless of disability, can travel as frequently as they wish to do so.”


At the foot of this article there is a picture of puppy walker Isobel Cooper with Kaylea and First bus driver Steve Mellen. Isobel is standing on the bus, buying her ticket from the driver. Kaylea is a yellow Labrador and is sitting at Isobel’s feet.


Be a part of Guide Dog Training School Forfar


Individuals and groups are being encouraged to sponsor a brick in Guide Dog Training School Forfar’s Wall of Support – and Lamont Forbes MBE, one of the school’s key volunteers, has helped kick-start the process by donating the first gold inscribed brick.


To raise the £1,500 for his brick, Lamont put his musical talents to good use by playing his keyboard, singing and telling stories at a variety of events.


The Wall of Support will be built within a sensory garden that can be enjoyed by all those coming to the school.


Bricks come in two sizes, with inscriptions in bronze, silver or gold, and prices range from £500 to £3,000. If you would like to be a part of Forfar’s Wall of Support, call 0845 3727315 or e-mail funraisingsc@guidedogs.org.uk.


Forfar is already welcoming visitors on its group tours, which aim to show the public the state-of-the-art facilities and reveal some of the skill and dedication needed to transform a cute little puppy into a dependable working guide dog. Young dogs come to the training school when they are about 12 – 14 months and learn skills such as walking in a straight line, stopping at kerbs and judging height and width.


Visits to the school are free, and can accommodate groups of up to 40 people. For more information, call 0845 3727315.


Lamont Forbes MBE has been pictured at the side of this article with guide dog puppy Quaid. Lamont Forbes, is crouching down next to Quaid.


Travis Trek 6 – “the Legends return”


Intrepid trekkers Scott Cunningham and his guide dog Travis – from Larkhall, South Lanarkshire – have completed their sixth mammoth trek, striding towards a £100,000 fundraising target for Guide Dogs.


Accompanied by former Rangers stars, known as the Ibrox Legends, and members of the Royal Marine Commandos, Scott and Travis tackled the West Highland Way in some atrocious weather. At times facing waist-deep snow and sleet, Travis sensibly travelled in the support vehicle, leaving Scott to be guided by his partner, Helen.


Scott says: “With £85,000 raised from my previous treks, our aim this year is to break the £100,000 barrier. When we started I never dreamed we could raise so much for Guide Dogs. But over 500 miles later, averaging 100 miles a trek, I’m confident we can reach this fundraising landmark, and in doing so, show the world how remarkable the partnership is between guide dog and owner.”


Scott has been shortlisted for an Institute of Fundraising National Award. Julie Millar from Guide Dogs’ Scottish fundraising team said: “We are so proud and grateful to Scott and Travis for their incredible support. If anyone deserves national recognition for dedicated charity fundraising over a number of years, it’s Scott!”


Pictured at the end of the article are Scott and Helen Cunningham, with their guide dog Travis and the supporters of the Travis Trek 6. They are standing on the Bridge of Orchy behind a large banner with all the supporters who are waving and cheering.


Correction


In an article about guide dog owner Marcus Rawlings in the last edition of Forward, we incorrectly stated that people who have lost their sight must wait two years to apply for a guide dog. In fact there is no set period, and anyone who feels that a guide dog might be the right option for them, should contact their local district team, regardless of when the sight loss occurred.

[End of third article]


04 A fitting tribute.


John Moorhouse was a keen dog lover and very fond of his black Labrador, Charlie. So when he died of a brain haemorrhage in 2006, aged 74, his wife Ann wanted to do something special in his honour, and it was his love of dogs that inspired her to set up a Guide Dogs Tribute Fund.


Ann explains: “I decided to try and raise £5,000 to name a puppy in his memory. Each time I added to the Fund, and then received a letter from Guide Dogs, it was like I was being encouraged along the way.


“I didn’t know how long it would take to raise the money, but was really pleased when I’d achieved it! I’ve done lots of different things: my tennis club gave a donation in return for me keeping the clubhouse spick and span; I had a book stall at our local Friday market and a raffle at Christmas; a very kind neighbour asked for donations to the Fund instead of 70th birthday presents; and every Sunday morning, I do a car boot sale. My friends are so pleased to have a good clear-out, especially knowing that it’s for such a good cause!”


Since the Tribute Fund was set up, sadly Labrador Charlie has died, so Ann decided to commemorate Charlie’s memory by adding his name to the Fund. Ann has been so busy fundraising for Guide Dogs that she has been able to name four puppies – Charlie, Ben, Sandy and Pip! Ann says: “John and I had many happy years together, and the Tribute Fund has been the perfect way of keeping his and Charlie’s memory alive.”


Since the Guide Dogs Tribute Fund scheme began in 2004, 161 Funds have been opened, helping to raise over £760,000 for Guide Dogs. Tribute Funds are special named Funds set up to commemorate a loved one, to which friends and family can contribute at any time. Many people use the Funds to raise £5,000 to “Name a Puppy” in memory of their loved one.


Supporters of the Funds raise money in lots of different ways, from making donations at special times of the year such as birthdays or anniversaries, to organising fundrasing events with friends and family and sponsorship activities.


For further information about Tribute Funds, contact Joette Emerton on 0118 9838385 or visit www.giftsinmemory.org.uk.


At the top of this article is a photograph of Ann and John Moorhouse, they are sitting on a wicker bench. John has his arm around Ann’s shoulders and Ann is holding his hand.


At the foot of the article, there is a photo of Ann with her beloved dog Charlie. Charlie is a black Labrador; Ann has been pictured giving Charlie a big cuddle.

[End of fourth article]


05 Learning about Guide Dogs.


New Chief Executive Richard Leaman gets out and about to meet staff, volunteers and clients across the UK.


Supporting our Talking Buses campaign’s parliamentary reception with guide dog owner Jill Allen-King MBE

Richard Leaman is pictured with Jill Allen-King; Richard is holding a copy of Jill’s autobiography “Just Jill”.


Meeting puppy walker Dave Astin and Quinn at the Guide Dog Training School, Atherton.

Richard is sitting on a bench with Dave Astin; Richard is bending down stroking Quinn, who is a small sandy-coloured Labrador.


Meeting staff at the Guide Dog Training School Leamington

Pictured is Richard, with staff members and some Guide Dogs at the training school.


Learning about dog care and welfare from Robert Coop in Dog Care at Atherton

Robert Coop has been photographed checking up on one of the Guide Dogs; Richard Leaman is standing just behind him.


Learning about accessibility with Roger Whitton from the Assistive Technology Team

Richard Leaman is pictured sitting at a table with Rodger Whitton, Richard is wearing a pair of headphones and is working on a laptop.


Seeing the hydrotherapy bath in action with Pam Trewick, Dog Care and Welfare Manager, and Fiona Rybowski, Dog Care at Atherton

Pictured here is Richard Leaman as he sees at first hand the hydrotherapy bath in action.


Meeting guests at the launch of the Guide to Services in London

Richard Leaman is pictured talking to one of the guests at the launch.


Taking a blindfold walk with a guide dog in Leamington, accompanied by Guide Dog Mobility Instructors Nicola Brown and Adele Barnes

Pictured here is Richard Leaman as he takes part in a blindfold walk.

[End of fifth article]


06 A day in the life of…

a Technical Canine Research Worker


Interview by Eifion Rees


Rachel Moxon is a Technical Canine Research Worker based at Tollgate, near Leamington Spa. She is 28 and lives with partner Ian near Southam in Warwickshire. After studying for a degree in animal science at Nottingham Trent University, she spent a year in Kentucky doing equine research, before joining Guide Dogs in January 2008.


Technical Canine Research Workers are responsible for general canine research into dog health and wellbeing. Attention is focused on areas of research that help increase the effectiveness of our breeding programme. Other duties include reporting on the progress of current research, training and mentoring students, and identifying further research opportunities.


I wake up at 6.45am to feed the dog – my bran flakes and I come second. At the moment I’m looking after Rhanna, a year old German Shepherd who’s waiting to be rehomed. After a half-hour walk we’ll jump into my yellow 1975 VW Beetle and drive to Tollgate.


Arriving between 8.30 – 9am, the first thing I do is wait for my computer to boot up. Then I put on my white lab coat and get to work. My first job is inputting data for a presentation to the International Guide Dog Federation conference on a study into how management techniques affect puppy survival rates.


Research requests are presented to the Canine Research Planning Group for approval, so I may work up a proposal, identifying how research should be carried out.


If research has been approved, I’ll start gathering samples to study in the lab or collecting data to input into a spreadsheet to check for statistical differences.


Next I might write up a report on other findings, feeding back to whoever requested the research, along with the Canine Research Planning Group, so any changes to working practices can be made.


If it’s a study into disease in breeding stock, I’ll look at some initial data such as how many of our breeding stock are affected, or how many of their siblings or puppies have it.


Sometimes veterinary students from the University of Nottingham come in for their third year research projects, so I may show them how to collect and analyse samples.


I look forward to lunch if it isn’t a boring sandwich I’ve made! Occasionally some of the Dog Care and Welfare staff take a trip to the local chippy and bring me back something nice.


In the afternoon I may join a conference call with the Canine Research Working Group or Planning Group to discuss a report and current or future research projects.


Next I’ll ensure our research is up to speed, checking external journals and reviews – it’s all about looking after the health and welfare of the dogs so they enjoy long, happy working lives.


Researching how DNA damage is related to fertility, I’ll analyse semen samples under a microscope, then prepare them as glass slide smears to send to the University of Sheffield for DNA testing.


I generally finish around 5pm, not forgetting Rhanna, who’s been in the kennels with her friends for the day. I’m sitting down most of the day so I want to be active in the evenings. I play badminton, horse ride and help out on a charity horse show committee.


Bedtime is 9.30 – 10pm, when I love to curl up with a good book – at the moment it’s Terry Pratchett’s “Unseen Academicals”.


Rachel Moxon has been pictured at the top of this article sitting on the bonnet of her bright yellow beetle; Rhanna is lying on the ground at Rachel’s feet. Rachel is wearing a pair of blue jeans and a Guide Dogs’ jumper.

[End of sixth article]


07 A garden for Guide Dogs.


A garden designed to illustrate the needs of visually impaired people will soon be on show…


Guide Dogs is entering a show garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2010 to publicise difficulties regularly faced by blind and partially sighted people.


Created by award-winning designer Tracy Foster, The Guide Dogs Garden provides space for guide dogs to demonstrate their skills in an attractive “real” garden setting.


Guide Dogs’ staff and volunteers will be educating visitors about the top 10 hazards for blind and partially sighted people, such as overhanging branches which can cause injury, badly parked cars and wheelie bins that may force the dog and handler into the road.


“Styled as an urban front garden, the design illustrates situations on our streets that guide dogs and their handlers have to negotiate, and how we could be more considerate to their needs,” explains Tracy. “The planting is simple, stylish and safe for dogs, and appealing through touch and smell to add interest for those with impaired vision.”


Besides raising awareness of visual impairment, how will the garden fare in competition? “We’d love to win a medal, but that’s not our main objective,” says Guide Dogs Corporate Events Manager Jackie Potter. “We believe Gardeners’ World Live provides the opportunity to engage with an entirely new audience who may not be familiar with Guide Dogs and the amazing work we do to improve mobility for blind and partially sighted people.”


You can visit the garden at Stand GA23 at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, NEC, Birmingham, from 16 – 20 June. For further information, visit www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com.


Pictured at the top of this article is an artist’s illustration of the Guide Dogs Garden, which is to be entered into the show. The garden has lots of greenery, trees and shrubbery.

[End of seventh article]


08 go walkies for Guide Dogs with Oatie.


Meet Oatie the mascot for “go walkies for Guide Dogs” events, which have been sweeping the nation this summer. Oatie, who retired as a guide dog when he went blind in one eye, has been gathering support for the sponsored dog walks since they launched in April.


Lots of dogs have already taken their owners on one of the sponsored walks in aid of their guide dog friends. Oatie has been to his local walk in Reading, near Guide Dogs’ Head Office, with his owner Tim Guttridge and Tim’s wife Elaine. Tim said: “Elaine and I have always been involved with fundraising for our local branch in Reading and Oatie is often called upon to draw in the crowds.


“Oatie is such a friendly and happy dog with everyone he meets that we were not surprised that he was chosen to star as the face of “go walkies for Guide Dogs”.”


Sponsor Oatie at
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