Wiltshire Publications

Miliary Wives Choir at Guide Dog coffee morning

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A Coffee morning for the local branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind is being held at the Paragon (Labour Club) in Westbury on Saturday 19th October, featuring the Warminster Military Wives Choir. 

The coffee morning runs from 10am-12pm. It is being organised by Westbury guide dog volunteer, Hilary Reed, who is celebrating after commencing the training of her 50th guide dog.

Hilary, who has been training guide dogs for more than 37 years, has recently started to train Doris, whom she named after her mum. Doris is just 15 weeks old and will be with Hilary until this time next year.  She’s Hilary’s 50th guide dog and already, dog No. 51 (Jake) has joined Hilary at her home in Westbury Leigh and starts his training this week.

“The Guide Dogs for the Blind is such a wonderful charity and I’m proud to have been involved and help provide what is a life-changing service for the people we help,” she said.

“I took on my first puppy in 1982 and I’ve loved every minute of it.  I’m in no rush to stop! It’s such a worthwhile cause but I also get lots out of it myself; it is so rewarding.”

Hilary was voted Westbury’s 2013 Person of the Year for her work with the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity. She trains the puppies from the age of seven weeks to 14 months, and her skills include house training, teaching obedience, taking them to shops, on buses and trains, and socialising them with other dogs and people.

Hilary ensures the puppies are ready for their full training before they are paired with their blind/partially sighted partner.

She also fundraises for the Guide Dogs charity and gives talks creating awareness of the charity to a variety of organisations including church groups, the WI, and Brownies.

“It’s great to see the impact that a guide dog can make to someone with sight loss,” added Hilary. “When you hear a comment like ‘I can’t believe what my life is like now and what a difference it makes, all the hard work is worthwhile.”

Guide Dogs for the Blind relies entirely on public contributions and the hard work that  people like Hilary put into fund-raising. They are always on the look out for new volunteers.

For details about the coffee morning or if you would like to donate to the charity, please contact Hilary Reed on 01373 823642 or hilaryreed52@hotmail.com or visit https://guidedogs.org.uk.