Blindfolded walk to St Austell for Guide Dogs UK
Mon 6th June 2016
A blindfolded charity walk along
the Pentewan Trail into St Austell was organised jointly by White River Place and a local fundraiser to help raise money to train and name a guide dog
for the blind.
White River Place helped organise and manage the event, called A Walk in the Dark, on Saturday 4th
June to support a fundraising campaign first launched by Claire Cooper from Charlestown.
Claire, who suffered from visual
impairment problems as a child, has already generated a fantastic £8,550 for
the charity Guide Dogs UK to help fund the training of a new guide dog for a
blind or visually impaired person, and she recently ran the London Marathon to
raise more money for the cause.
With the help of White River Place,
Claire staged A Walk in the Dark as a blindfolded daylight trek. Groups of
walkers from local organisations and businesses including Cornwall College,
Santander Bank, St Austell Rugby Club Angels and St Austell Guides were
sponsored to walk the four-mile Pentewan Trail to St Austell, finishing in
Aylmer Square in White River Place, all whilst blindfolded so they would
experience what life is like for the visually impaired.
Cooper explained: “I was diagnosed with a squint,
astigmatism, double vision and given a strong prescription to rectify visual
deficits when I was a child, so there is a personal story behind my fundraising
campaign which has given me the drive and motivation to help others with visual
impairments. My family took the decision to sponsor a guide dog, and now I’m
hoping to raise enough money to fund the naming of a Guide Dog.
“I’m hugely grateful to White River
Place for supporting me to stage A Walk in the Dark in the daylight, and to the
St Austell based teams from Santander, College, Guides and Rugby Club who were
brave enough to take a blindfolded walk along the Pentewan Trail into St Austell,
enabling them to experience what life is like for those who cannot see, whilst
helping us to raise vital funds to sponsor the naming of a guide dog Kernow.”
There are about 4,800 guide dog
owners in the UK and Guide Dogs UK is responsible for around 8,000 dogs, with
1,300 guide dog pups bred every year. The charity receives no Government
funding and depends on public support, with a cost of £5 a day to support each
working guide dog partnership, and the lifetime cost of a guide dog reaching
A Walk in the Dark started from the
trail near Pentewan Sands at 9am on Saturday, reaching White River Place finish
line by 12pm where guide dogs and members of the Guide Dogs UK charity were
waiting to congratulate them,
Hurst, Manager of White River Place, said:
“Claire has already achieved a fantastic amount, having successfully run the
London Marathon this spring, and thanks to her infectious energy, she smashed
her initial fundraising target for Guide Dogs UK of £2,000, with the total
already at over £8,500.
“Now we want to help her reach £12,000
to sponsor a guide dog for a visually impaired person, and are thrilled to have
teamed up with Claire to organise such a fun and positive event with A Walk in
the Dark to help her get over the finishing line. The sponsored walk went
really well and was a wonderful event to be a part of.”
Walkers took part in A Walk in the
Dark in groups of five, with a sixth ‘sighted’ person leading them, and each
group was linked together, moving at a gentle pace, with White River Place
supplying marshals, a safety vehicle and a first responder on hand to take care
of those involved.
Despite forecasts of rain, the
weather was gloriously warm and sunny, and the walkers reached their
destination in just under three hours.
To make a donation to sponsor the
walkers and support Claire towards her £12,000 target for Guide Dogs UK, visit
Claire’s Justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/Claireycoops
For more information about White
River Place follow the centre on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whiteriverplace or on Twitter @Whiteriverplace