As a break from the BREXIT madness in Westminster, during today, Friday 22 March, I spend most of the afternoon with the campaign team from Guide Dogs for the Blind. In particular I met Alex Pepper, a blind constituent from West Wickham with his Labrador called River as well as Mike, a dog trainer with one of his almost trained dogs called Jenson.
To get a feel for just how difficult it was being blind I wore a mask which let in no light whatsoever and went up and down Beckenham High Street; first with a long cane and then with Jenson guiding me. I learnt quickly that it was far harder than I imagined and now understand the charity's campaign to reduce obstacles on pavements.
Not only does it take a long time to produce such dogs but each dog costs about £52,000 to educate and fully train. The UK now has 5,000 guide dogs on our streets which is an amazing achievement.
What a great charity we have in Guide Dogs for the Blind. I am now an enthusiastic supporter.