Chesterfield Guide Dogs charity celebrates 90th birthday with successful fundraiser

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A Guide Dogs charity celebrated its 90th birthday in Chesterfield by raising over £1,000 in one of its first events since the pandemic started.

Guide Dogs Chesterfield branch made a total of £1145.91 from their event at Hasland Methodist Church.

Gabbie Pattison, Volunteer Branch Organiser for Chesterfield, said she was grateful for the efforts of the charity’s volunteers and the support the public gave to the event.

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“I couldn't be prouder of our volunteers who turned out in force, some who we haven't seen since before the pandemic. Even the volunteers that couldn't be with us, sent either cakes, tombola prizes or a donation.

“It was wonderful to see so many of our Puppies in Training, Working Guide Dogs, Retired Guide Dogs and Ambassador Dogs all under one roof. They were all so very well-behaved and very popular with everyone that was there.

“We were also delighted with the turn out from the general public and were overwhelmed by their support.”

This comes after a difficult pandemic for the charity, which was unable to stage its usual programme of events and saw a 60% drop in its fundraising income.

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Mrs Pattison told the Derbyshire Times that, while there were difficulties helping the visually impaired during lockdown, their volunteers battled through, and things were now looking up again for the charity.

She added: “Visually impaired people were suddenly left in a situation with the pandemic where they didnt know what to do. They couldn’t go out because they can’t socially distance, they couldn’t get shopping delivered because they were told they weren’t vulnerable, and some came in for anger and abuse- it’s a shame people couldn’t think about how it would feel to lose your sight.

“It was very hard. Luckily, we have some amazing volunteers in the area and we managed to rally round, even when many were shielding themselves- we had to step up because that was the only way to support them.

“Our volunteers kept going all the way through, and we’re now getting back out there.”

Information about Guide Dogs Chesterfield can be found on their Facebook page.