A Spalding pensioner, whose father rejected him when he began to lose his sight as a child, has revealed how having a guide dog has changed his life.
Bryan Maindonald will never forget as an 11-year-old boy believing he was going to the zoo with his mum, only to be taken to a top eye specialist.
There was no trip to the zoo, just a traumatic journey home – his mother had been told her son was dying and would lose his sight and hearing. Mr Maindonald (79), of Park Avenue, said: “Sadly my father didn’t want anything to do with me because of my eye condition!”
Determined not to let his condition beat him and wanting desperately to win back the approval of his father, he turned to the thing he was good at in spite of his failing eyesight – sport.
He said: “I won a gold medal for skiing and also competed in archery. Now I sing in my local church choir. My guide dog has been known to sing during the service!
“Before Barclay, I waited for a guide dog for 18 months. Now I have my dog, we go out most days and he has changed my life.”
Barclays Bank raised £5,000 to name Mr Maindonald’s fifth guide dog, which staff aptly named Barclay.
Mr Maind-onald said: “Barclays Bank had made it possible for me to step outside my house and go for a walk. Just the two of us.
“Barclay will find the bridge that I need to cross weekly and stops at all kerbs to cross the roads safely. He is wonderful.”
One person every hour in the UK goes blind and 75 people every single day are diagnosed with some kind of sight loss.
Pete Osborne, a guide dog owner and manager of the local Guide Dogs Mobility Teams, says: “Raising the money to support a partnership like that between Bryan and Barclay is increasingly difficult. I know just how important this is and really urge people to think about naming their own very important pup.”
Guide Dogs is urging schools, community groups and businesses to sponsor and name a pup like Barclay. Call the Guide Dog team on 0845 3727414.