Eyes down to help guide dog charity

Young bookworms have helped raise thousands of pounds to support visually impaired people.

Saturday, 9th July 2016, 7:35 am
Pupils at Bede Academy present a cheque to Sue Robinson, community fundraiser for North East England at Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Students at Bede Academy, in Blyth, took part in a sponsored read and raised enough money for two guide dogs to be bred and trained.

The project was organised by teacher Louise Weston and the School Action Group, which is now coordinating a poll among pupils to choose names for their puppies, due to be born later this year.

Year 5 student Esra Aydeniz said: “We’re going to ask everyone to pick the two names they like best then the School Action Group will see which are the most popular names.”

Sue Robinson, community fundraiser for North East England at Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, visited the academy to accept a cheque for £4,483.28.

Geoff Hutchinson, the academy’s blind drums and percussion tutor who visits regularly with his guide dog Millie, told the children: “I am able to come to school and help pupils learn and play music and have a wonderful time doing that.

“Hopefully, your contribution will help other people live a better life and also to help others.”

Irene Watson, headteacher at Bede Academy South, said: “Once the puppies are 16 weeks old, we’re told they will be able to visit the academy and the children will then be able to track them as they grow and go through their training, which will be very exciting.

“The children worked incredibly hard to raise such a huge amount.”

“They read lots and lots of books, and we’re very grateful to parents, family and friends for sponsoring them.”

The new puppies, which could be labradors, retrievers or German shepherd cross, will spend their first 14-16 months with a Guide Dogs puppy walker followed by 18 weeks at the association’s training centre and a final 12 weeks’ training with their new owner.