MEMBERS of a charity have thanked people for their “fantastic generosity” after street collections raised more than £1,900.
The Hartlepool and Seaton Carew branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association spent two days in Hartlepool’s York Road and two days in Castle Dene Shopping Centre, in Peterlee, collecting for the cause.
Members say people always dig deep and show their support during street collections, but they admit to being taken aback by a huge response this time around.
During the two days in Hartlepool, the branch raised a staggering £1,146 and in Peterlee a further £755.
Branch secretary Al Winton, 67, said the kind donations will have a huge impact on the lives of visually impaired people in the town.
He said: “To raise as much as we did was absolutely fantastic, from the bottom of our hearts we want to say a huge thanks.
“The incredibly kind people who donate are making such a big difference to the lives of visually impaired people.
“It means people can get out of the door and live a much more active life with the dog by their side.”
There are 315 visually impaired people currently living in Hartlepool.
But despite this figure there are only 12 working guide dogs.
From birth until retirement a dog costs £49,000, with all money raised thanks to kind-hearted donations.
Al, who is virtually blind from a hereditary condition and is helped day-to-day by his guide dog Gypsy, added: “A fellow member of the branch said to me that a guide dog brings a new chapter to a persons life and that’s a great way of putting it.
“They give us independence.
“We can do things we haven’t been able to do in the past, go for a haircut, go to the dentist, go to the doctors.”
Al, a dad of five who lives in Hartlepool’s Ormesby Road, added: “Again, we would just like to say a big thank you to those people who donated.
“It is tough for people at the minute, but it doesn’t appear to stop them supporting charities.”
For more information about the Hartlepool and Seaton Carew branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association or to donate call Al on (01429) 267777.