Last week I attended a celebration with my blind father in law and his ever faithful guide dog Chad. The celebration was to honour 75 years of Guide dogs for the Blind.
Guide dogs have been aiding mobility in blind and partially blind people for 2,000 years. It was a day to celebrate and honour the guide dog and the volunteers who make it happen.
The modern guide dog story, begins during the first world war, when thousands of soldiers were returning from the front blinded, often by poison gas. A German doctor, Dr Gerhaard Stalling had the idea of training dogs en masse to help those affected.
In August 1916 Dr Stalling opened the world's first guide dog school for the blind in Oldenburg. The school grew and new branches sprung up around the country.
In 1930 , two British women, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond set up training in England of the first four British guide dogs and three years later The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was founded.
Since then the Association has gone from strength to strength and now works towards a common goal ; to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
The commitment of the people who work for Guides Dogs is as deep today as it ever was.
Guide dogs for the blind stands for freedom, dignity and independence. I still stand in awe and respect when I watch Chad my father in laws, Michael Tetley's golden retriever guide dog take him to London on the train and around the tube system better than I can do myself.
Long may this Association go on ..............