Blind walk is an eye-opener

Guide Dogs volunteer Alan Fletcher with Joy, mayor Mick Bray and Philippa Davidson with Rusty

Guide Dogs volunteer Alan Fletcher with Joy, mayor Mick Bray and Philippa Davidson with Rusty

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

TWO of the town’s top figures were left in the dark yesterday as they highlighted the plight of the blind.

Swindon mayor Mick Bray was joined by South Swin-don MP Robert Buckland for a blindfold walk ahead of Walk My Way for Guide Dogs Week.

The pair were joined by Swindon Guide Dogs chairman Alan Fletcher, who was accompanied by his guide dog, Joy, at the civic offices.

They took part in a walk where they were blindfolded and shown around the gardens with a guide dog and Mr Fletcher said it was an interesting experience.

He said: “It’s about Mick in his role as mayor and Robert in his role as an MP trying to get the message across about the organisation.

“We need changes – not just in Swindon but across the UK.

“It’s about raising awareness about attacks on guide dogs from other dogs and changing the law to make this an offence plus getting rid of obstacles in the town so blind people can live as normal a life as possible.

“It’s great that both have them have come along to take part in this and have a brief insight into what it is like to be partially sighted.

“This is all in the build up to Walk My Way Week, when we have a lot of activities taking place including a charity abseil and a quiz in Liddington.

“The support we have received so far has been amazing and we are well supported in the town.”

Mr Buckland said it was good for him to get this experience and he was committed to supporting the charity in its work.

He said: “What better way of understanding the limitations of being partially sighted than by seeing life from their perspective?

“I hope that as many people as possible support the work of the guide dogs, who provide such a vital service and make such a difference to the lives of those people who have lost their sight.”

Walk My Way Week will start on Saturday with a collection at the Brunel Centre.

Thrill-seekers will also have the opportunity to take part in the week with an abseil this Sunday.

People can abseil down the County Ground’s Don Rogers Stand and can even do it blindfolded or in fancy dress.

There is a registration fee of £20 plus minimum sponsorship of £100. For more information contact rach-tom@hotmail.co.uk or call 01793 828126.

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