A Christmas dream comes true

THANK you for making a Christmas dream come true . . . not once, but twice over.

Richard Cornwell

THANK you for making a Christmas dream come true . . . not once, but twice over.

For we can exclusively reveal tonight that thanks to the generosity of Suffolk people, the Evening Star's Christmas appeal has smashed through its £10,000 target.

And the special news is that the fund will pay for not just guide dog puppy Star's training - but also for a second pup.

Next year a new puppy - to be called Hope - will be born ready to also take on the vital role of being the eyes of a blind or visually-impaired person.

The Star is Born appeal fund stands at just over £15,000 but we will be continuing to raise money into the New Year to help the charity pay for its puppies' breeding and training programmes.

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Guide Dogs for the Blind is absolutely thrilled with the success.

Penny Parker, who is loveable Star's puppy walker for the first year of her training, and also a member of the charity's East and Mid Suffolk fundraising group, said: “Everyone is delighted - we cannot believe the support we have had from the community.

“So many people have donated and raised money and we just want to thank them all for their tremendous generosity and fantastic support.

“Guide dogs have such a vital role and Star and the new puppy are desperately needed and will do great work.”

The target was passed thanks to the support of the Ipswich Greyfriars Round Table who are donating half the £10,000 they have raised from their nightly trips around Ipswich with Rudolph and Santa, bringing seasonal sounds to the streets and collecting for the Star appeal and East Anglian Children's Hospices.

Round Table chairman Mark Lewis said it was fantastic news that the appeal would be able to pay for a second dog's training.

He said: “That is just brilliant news.

“We have been delighted to have been a part of it and to contribute and to have been able to raise the money that we have - it is such a worthwhile cause.

“But we could not have played our part without the amazing generosity of the people of Ipswich - without them this would not have happened.”

Mr Lewis also paid tribute to the Round Table members, their family and friends who do the three-week tour around the town.

Another contributor who helped the fund met its target was Graeme Kalbraier's Call Connection company, which donated £500 today.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “The appeal has touched the hearts of our community and Star is loved by everyone who meets her.

“We send a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed - from those who have given pennies to those who have raised many pounds from fundraising, to those who have given items to treasure boxes and those still raising money.

“And to think this will all pay for two dogs is fantastic.”

- Ipswich Greyfriars Round Table paid tribute to the superb support they receive from a number of organisations which enables them to take Rudolph around the town.

Special thanks were sent to Suffolk Agricultural Association which stores Rudolph for 11 months of the year, ABP who store her at the port during the three-week run, John Grose who provide the towing vehicle, Axa and Ryan insurance who sort out insurance cover, A Plant who provide the generator, Incognito for the Santa suit, and various others for assistance, including Ashton Graham, Coes, Barclays, SGR FM, and the fire service and BT.

FASTFACTS: Star's training to be a guide dog:

- During her first year, Star is living with puppy walker Penny Parker in Felixstowe - learning to live in a family home.

- She is also exposed deliberately to a wide range of different experiences, sights, sounds and smells, her reactions recorded and given regular assessments to see how she is coping.

- Penny takes her on buses, train rides, into schools so she can experience the noise, hustle and bustle, busy town centres to get used to crowds, experience traffic sounds, long walks, off-lead runs, visits to workplaces, theatres, and so on.

- Like most dogs, she has to get used to obeying simple instructions, such as sit, down, stay and coming when called by name, and walking ahead on the leash.

- After a year, she will leave to go on to the second phase - much more rigorous training at guide dog school.

- Here Star will learn to walk in a straight line in the centre of the pavement unless there is an obstacle; not to turn corners unless told to do so; stop at kerbs and deal with traffic; and judge height and width so her owner does not bump their head or shoulder.


The fundraising for the vital work of Guide Dogs continues - as we aim to raise as much as possible for the charity's work.

We want the whole community to get involved and if you are organising a fundraising event for the appeal, then we want to hear so we can give it maximum publicity and help boost the amount raised.

So let us know what you are up to - get in touch with Richard Cornwell at the Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109 or the Ipswich Newsdesk on 01473 324788.

To donate to the appeal, please send cheques - made payable to the Guide Dogs - to Richard Cornwell, Evening Star, 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7DU.