Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Blind charity supporter is given a new leash on life
THERE is a new girl in Swindon Guide Dogs chairman Alan Fletcher’s life now he has welcomed home guide dog Nutmeg.
The Labrador-cross-retriever has enabled Alan to regain the independence and mobility he lost when his first and beloved guide dog, Joy, died earlier this year.
Alan said: “She’s given me back my left arm. After Joy died I went back to square one again. I couldn’t leave the house without my white cane which i don’t like to do and my wife Shirley had to take me everywhere.
“She's given me back all that I lost. My mobility and my independence.”
Alan and Nutmeg only trained together for two weeks before it was decided they made a perfect partnership.
Alan said: “She’s very good. She’s very bright. We qualified in two weeks and the trainer said it was the quickest time a pair have ever qualified and she’s had 12 years’ experience.”
Alan’s first guide dog, Joy, died in May at the age of eight-and-a-half after vets found an inoperable tumour in her intestine that had spread to other parts of her body.
Joy appeared with Alan at numerous fundraising events and helped Swindon Guide Dogs raise awareness of blindness and the work of the dogs during the seven years she lived with him.
In memory of his dog, Alan launched the 4Joy Appeal in August, with the aim of raising £20,000 which will pay for the first year of training for four guide dog puppies.
So far Alan has raised around £10,000 through the website, which will pay to name two of the pups, which will be called Joy and Fletcher.
He is encouraging people to donate through the website and hold their own fundraisers as part of the appeal, such as jump4Joy, dance4Joy, run4Joy and walk4Joy.
Alan said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in this appeal and have fundraised by holding the events and to others who have made donations.”
Alan, a former BMW engineering boss, began losing his sight 15 years ago and was diagnosed with retinal dystrophy, a family of incurable degenerative eye conditions.
He was registered blind in 2005, and in 2009 an unrelated cancer was discovered behind his right eye.
His only remaining vision is the odd faint flicker in his left eye. For more information about Guide Dogs visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/swindon.
To help Alan’s fundraising, visit 4joy.co.uk.
Comments are closed on this article.