Leek United staff help to give gift of independence

A CHARITY dedicated to helping blind and partially-sighted people lead more independent lives has received a special cash boost from Leek United staff.

Guide Dogs for the Blind will use the £500 donation from the Society’s Mortgage Operations team towards the training of new guide dogs in the Midlands.

The cheque was received by former British Paralympic swimming star Janice Burton MBE – herself a guide dog owner – and Ann Moorhouse, a North Staffordshire volunteer with the charity, at Leek United’s Head Office in St Edward Street, Leek.

“Guide dogs really do change people’s lives,” said Janice, of Cheadle, who attended the presentation with her Golden Retriever-German Shepherd cross, Viking.

“Viking gives me independence and mobility, as well as devotion and friendship. And, at the end of their working lives, we are given the choice of retaining and looking after them as pets; I have had six guide dogs over the past 39 years, and have kept them all.”

Ann added: “There are 32 guide dogs currently working in the North Staffordshire area. It costs £55,000 for a guide dog, from birth to retirement, so we rely very heavily on fundraising, and are very grateful to Leek United for their generous donation.”

Colleagues from the Society’s Mortgage Operations team raised the money by organising and taking part in a number of activities throughout 2018, including: a fashion show, an Easter extravaganza, cake and knitting sales, raffles, a ‘bake off’ competition, and much more.

Jackie said: “In addition to Guide Dogs for the Blind, we also chose to raise money for the Parkinsons UK Leek Support Group and the Chris Parr Memorial Fund/Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), who have also each recently received £500 from us.

“Apart from the pleasure of knowing the money is going to such worthy causes, all staff have really enjoyed getting involved, we’ve had a great time doing it, and it’s been brilliant for team-building and morale.”

Picture caption: Ann Moorhouse (far left with guide dog Tasha), of North Staffordshire Guide Dogs for the Blind, and Janice Burton (far right, with her guide dog, Viking) receive the cheque from Leek United’s Mortgage Operations team.