'They change your life': Blind Newport woman raising funds for guide dogs charity

A visually-impaired woman says the lifeline her guide dog gave her means she is always determined to raise funds to help others enjoy their independence.


Eleanor Roberts, from Newport, was born blind but guide dog Woody – now retired – has helped her enjoy an independent life.

This weekend, she will hold an afternoon tea along with Woody to raise money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which, she says, needs support more than ever since the pandemic.

Reflecting on her own experiences, Eleanor said: "I have been a guide dog owner for 22 years and these dogs change your life. There's no other way of putting it.

Eleanor Roberts from Newport with her retired guide dog Woody

"You go from being totally reliant on people helping you all the time, to being able to go where you want, when you want and no-one can stop you. The dogs give you complete independence.

"I have been particularly lucky to have Woody, who is wonderful, in my life. He has been my eyes and, though retired now, he is still my best friend.

"He is there when I wake up and there last thing at night when I go to sleep. If I am feeling lousy, he knows about it and if I am top of the world he feels it. He's incredible."

Eleanor says it's vital that the charity is supported with more donations after Covid impacted training of dogs and left many visually impaired people waiting for new guides. She is currently waiting for a new one herself.

"The charity need all the money they can get now to try and get more dogs through," she said.

"They need more staff trained and qualified so they can train more dogs.

"I have been doing the tea party for some years now but this year it has a particular resonance because Covid has impacted.

"I want to raise as much as I can because every little bit will help in some way.

"Guide Dogs for the Blind is so important. These guys change your life."

Eleanor's event will take place at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Wallshead Way, Church Aston, on Saturday(8), from 2.30pm-4pm.

The entry fee is £3 per adult and £1 per child under-11.

There will be a raffle, tea and cake and the chance to meet Woody and some of his canine companions.

Visitors will also be able to learn more about the life-changing work of the charity.

"It's chance to have a nice social afternoon and meet a few guide dogs and raise money for a crucial cause," Eleanor added.

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