‘Guide dogs’ bid for Hailsham branch

Barclays Bank in Hailsham has agreed to have a collection box for Guide Dogs for the Blind in its banking hall. April 23rd 2012 E17014N (L to R): Paul Millross who is also hoping to set up a Hailsham Branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Assn, Barclays Customer Advisor Brian Sharkey and Andy Roberts Area Community Manager for Barclays with Pauls Guide Dog Wanda in front.
Barclays Bank in Hailsham has agreed to have a collection box for Guide Dogs for the Blind in its banking hall. April 23rd 2012 E17014N (L to R): Paul Millross who is also hoping to set up a Hailsham Branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Assn, Barclays Customer Advisor Brian Sharkey and Andy Roberts Area Community Manager for Barclays with Pauls Guide Dog Wanda in front.

GUIDE Dogs for the Blind Association is looking to set up a new branch in Hailsham.

The charity is now on the hunt for local volunteers to help with the running of the branch.

Paul Millross, who is involved with the charity and himself had a guide dog, is trying to set up the branch.

Paul says his dog Wanda has changed his life and he want to give something back and help others like him.

“I am so much more confident now I have got Wanda,” said Paul.

“Before I got her, I had a white cane and people were quite unpleasant to me. They would walk into me and I had canes broken by pushchairs.

“I have so much more confidence now and my posture has changed. I used to stoop as I walked along but now I stand up straight and I like going out now.”

Paul says a branch in Hailsham will give other blind people an opportunity to go and speak to someone about guide dogs.

He said, “I think the new branch will help to raise awareness and funds for the charity.

“We are now looking for anyone who has some spare time they can give to the charity. We will need members to help out and maybe become a secretary or a treasurer for the branch.

“The volunteers don’t have to be visually impaired or guide dog owners – anyone with an interest is welcome to become a volunteer for the branch.

“We plan to have an office which we will be able to work from but are not yet sure where that will be.”

The newly formed Hailsham branch will do work fundraising work within the town and the wider area.

Paul explained the charity had recently brought back its life size guide dog money collectors, which were often seen outside shops in the 80s and 90s. The guide dogs are now back with the addition of two little puppies by their side.

Paul said he was delighted that Barclays Bank branches in both Hailsham and Eastbourne had agreed to give the dogs a home. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is hoping bank customers will give generously.

There are currently guide dog branches in Brighton, Peacehaven, Hove and Rother, so the Hailsham branch will help to fill a gap within the charity’s coverage.

The money raised through the Hailsham branch will towards the training and lifetime costs for the guide dogs. Keeping a guide dog from training it as a puppy and then paying for its food and vet bills throughout its life costs £48,000. To volunteer for the charity, call Kate Hunter on 07747018959.