Revelling in Guide Dogs for the Blind

Apr 12, 2017

This month we learned about life as a blind person, when Councillor Richard Lees came to talk to us about Guide Dogs for the Blind, accompanied by his guide dog Revel. Richard, who is in his 60s, has been blind since his teens, and Revel, along with the previous six guide dogs who have supported him for the last 40 years, has enabled him to lead a busy life as a TDBC councillor for 20 years, including a year as Mayor, and to work as an advocate.

He was very informative about the history of the Guide Dogs service, and the work of the organisation in breeding, training, allocating and supporting their dogs in their enormously important work. Blind people who are allocated a guide dog receive training in how to work with a dog, and together they work to learn regular routes which the person will need to use.

Not surprisingly, Revel was the focus of much attention after Richard’s speech, being ‘off duty’ – we learned that it is very important not to distract a guide dog out with its owner in harness, as it is working to ensure that person’s safety.

This was our 50th meeting since we were established as a WI, so balloons, cake and nibbles were provided, and instead of a session of games for members’ time, we were given questions to use to get to know each other better. This is especially useful for newer members, as we are a very large group, but we still welcome visitors and new members.

Cultural activities are flourishing. Dial M for Murder at the Brewhouse, starring Laura Burrow, one of our members, had been popular, as had Jenny Éclair, and plans are in place to return there to see 9 to 5: The Musical in April. Several members had enjoyed Beauty and the Beast at the Wellesley.

For adventurous eaters, a goat lunch at Tracebridge Sourdough is on offer in July, and the monthly bring and share supper club will have an Italian theme this month.

Speakers at our meeting on 20 April will be successful local crime writers Chris Ewan and Clare Donoghue. Please join us if you can.

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