A first-year KU student is hosting a charity concert to raise money for Guide Dogs For The Blind after learning first-hand the difference they can make.
Music student Debbi Clarke, 21, hopes the music concert she has organised will help to give something back to the charity that have helped her blind mum regain her independence.
Debbi said: “I’ve seen first hand what a guide dog can do for someone like my mum. She is no longer dependant on anyone and can go wherever she likes.
“After seeing the difference one of these dogs can make I just want to give something back.”
Debbi’s mum Tracey has always been blind in one eye but the sight in her second eye gradually got worse and she was registered disabled nearly three years ago.
Before she had her guide dog Oakley she relied a lot on her family to do stuff for her and even a trip to the local shop could be devastating.
“We used to worry about her crossing roads, or falling over curbs or getting on the wrong bus,“ Debbi said.
Lost in the forest
Two years ago the family were on holiday in the New Forest when Tracey thought she could find her own way back from the pool but took a wrong turn and got lost.
“It was horrible and we didn’t have much phone signal either. Everyone was so upset,” she said. “After that happened she never went out on her own again.”
But since getting Oakley six months ago Tracey has regained her independence and can go out without worrying her family.
“Her having Oakley has been amazing. I like helping my mum but the fact that she can help herself is great because she’s so much happier,” Debbi said.
But guide dogs do not come cheap. Training a guide dog costs the charity over £40,000 per dog and the money comes entirely from donations from the public and small government funding.
Oakley’s Charity Concert will be held at Coombehurst Studio, Kingston University at 7pm on Saturday March 16.
There will be live music from a variety of acts including Moxymojo, Clam, Graeme and the Tom Toms.
Entry is free but all donations will go to Guide Dogs Association For The Blind.