Lottery winners have ‘pawesome’ time with Guide Dogs

John Bowman and Libby Elliot with a trainee guide dog. Picture by Michal Wachucik/Abermedia
John Bowman and Libby Elliot with a trainee guide dog. Picture by Michal Wachucik/Abermedia

Lottery winners from across Scotland this week came together to support Guide Dogs Scotland and raise awareness of the charity’s work.

The group of millionaires visited the Guide Dogs Forfar Training School on Wednesday 10 May to witness the incredible work of the charity and discover the training and commitment that goes into getting a guide dog puppy ready for working life.

During the visit the winners – Barry and Roberta Little, John Bowman, Libby Elliot, Alison and John Doherty, Sheila and Duncan Davidson, and John Edmond - got hands-on as they worked with the trainee dogs in the centre’s enclosures and helped out with the day to day tasks involved in maintaining the kennels and grounds.

They also met the Head of the Training School, Charlotte Finch, who explained the impact the dogs have on their new owners’ lives.

Libby Elliot (55), who won £2.2 million on the Lotto draw on August 18, 2012, said: “The work that Guide Dogs Scotland do is truly amazing.

“Having previously sponsored guide dogs in the past, it was fantastic to see first-hand what goes into getting the puppies ready for their working life. I had no idea how intensive the training is and the work that the staff put in, day in and day out, while still providing a fun and caring home.

“So many people with sight loss need support just to leave the house so you can see how the charity really does change lives. It was an incredible day – one that I will never forget.”

Guide Dogs Scotland relies solely on public donations. In support of the charity, the winners turned up with gifts for the trainee guide dogs, including special training toys and an aluminium frame dog bed which was needed by the centre.

Charlotte Finch, Head of the Guide Dogs Forfar Training School, said: “We were delighted to welcome the group to our training school and we were very grateful for their kind donations of toys and other items for our hard-working guide dogs in training.

“There are around 180,000 people with sight loss living in the UK who find it difficult to leave home on their own, and we want to change that.

“To support just one guide dog over their lifetime costs almost £55,000 and we rely on donations. It’s only thanks to public support that we can continue our work, ensuring that people with sight loss are never left out of life.”

Guide Dogs has four training schools across the UK that collectively train over 1,000 new guide dogs every year. There are around 530 guide dogs in Scotland who change the lives of people with sight loss, allowing them to get out and about safely and with confidence.

Further information about Guide Dogs Scotland this link