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Society’s staff help to give the gift of independence

4th February 2020

A CHARITY dedicated to helping blind and partially-sighted people lead more independent lives has received a further cash boost from Leek United.

The Society’s Mortgage Operations team has made a donation of £330 to Guide Dogs for the Blind towards the training of new guide dogs in the Midlands.

It follows the colleagues’ earlier gift of £500 to the charity last year, after they held a series of in-house fundraising events.

The latest cheque was received by former British Paralympic swimming star Janice Burton MBE – herself a guide dog owner – and Ann Moorhouse, a North Staffordshire volunteer with the charity, at Leek United’s Customer Service Centre in St. Edward Street, Leek.

“Guide dogs really do change people’s lives, and have given me my life back,” said Janice, of Cheadle, who attended the presentation with Junior, an adopted, retired guide dog she looks after.

“My own guide dog, Viking, gives me independence and mobility, as well as devotion and companionship. And, at the end of their working lives, we are given the choice of retaining and looking after them as pets; over the past 40 years I have had six guide dogs – and have kept them all.”

Ann added: “There are 32 guide dogs currently working in the North Staffordshire area. It costs £55,000 for a guide dog, from birth to retirement. Ongoing fundraising is vital to us, and it’s brilliant that Leek United have continued to support us so generously in this way.”

The Society’s Mortgage Operations team raised the money by organising and taking part in a number of activities throughout 2019, including: making and selling home-made soup to colleagues; holding Easter and Christmas ‘bake-off’ competitions and selling the produce; staging a Chinese auction of donated gifts.

Mortgage Operations Manager Jackie Derrett, said: “All these activities have been really enjoyable, as well as being brilliant for team-building and morale within the department.

“In addition to Guide Dogs for the Blind, we are planning to make similar donations to two additional good causes from the money we raised during last year.”

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