Let our dog into shops, husband pleads

A DOTING husband who has been shortlisted for a prestigious award has today called for more disability awareness in shops.Simon O'Brien-Ellington spoke out about the problems experienced by his wife, Claire, as he revealed he had reached the final four of the East Anglian carer of the year competition, part of the Pride of Britain Awards.

A DOTING husband who has been shortlisted for a prestigious award has today called for more disability awareness in shops.

Simon O'Brien-Ellington spoke out about the problems experienced by his wife, Claire, as he revealed he had reached the final four of the East Anglian carer of the year competition, part of the Pride of Britain Awards.

Mrs O'Brien-Ellington, 30, has spinal degeneration disorder which means the discs in her back and neck are collapsing and she needs a wheelchair to get around.

Her husband provides her with physical and mental support and acts as her full-time carer. And she relies on him so much that she entered him for the competition.

She said: “He is so brilliant. He does so much for me including the emotional things and making sure I do things which I wouldn't otherwise.

“I think it is important that middle-aged couples are recognised too, not just young and old carers.”

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As well as her husband, Mrs O'Brien-Ellington also relies on her working dog, Jake, who is able to help her shop.

But the couple, of Blackfriars Court in Foundation Street, Ipswich, said that shop-owners seem unaware that working dogs, like guide dogs, should be allowed into stores.

Mr O'Brien-Ellington said: “She needs Jake and if he can't go in then she can't go in.

“Some shops are really good about it but others have a problem and say he can't come in which is against the law.

“I'd like people to become more aware of it because at the moment it is only disabled people who seem to know about the problems.”

Have you experienced problems when trying to get into shops with a disability dog? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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