Video: Special puppy visits Star offices

A SPECIAL little puppy made a visit to her namesake - and proved a real hit with all the staff at the Star!

Richard Cornwell

A SPECIAL little puppy made a visit to her namesake - and proved a real hit with all the staff at the Star!

Inquisitive and cuddly guide dog puppy Star had a look round the offices of The Evening Star to meet the team which has launched a £10,000 appeal to pay for her training.

Puppy walker Penny Parker brought the eight-week-old Labrador along to meet editor Nigel Pickover and was soon being cuddled by other members of the paper's team at the offices at Lower Brook Street, Ipswich.

“She's a real Star - there's no doubt about that,” said Mr Pickover. “Everyone just loves her.”

But unlike ordinary dogs, the pup has a vital role to play - and her life is already mapped out.

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The first phase of this is under way and the Evening Star's appeal aims to raise the money needed to pay for her specialist training which will enable her to become the eyes of a blind or visually-impaired person.

When she is fully trained, she will live with that person for seven or eight years, building a partnership of love and trust in which the dog has to lead the sightless person everywhere and ensure they stay safe.

It brings enormous freedom to the owner - and makes their lives so much richer.

We want the whole community to get involved with the appeal.

Every penny and pound will count and ensure Star gets the best care and training - so 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.

- Have you been helped by Guide Dogs for the Blind? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

FASTFACTS: Guide Dogs for the Blind

- The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was founded in Britain in 1934.

- Every year the association breeds more than 1,000 guide dog puppies, mostly labrador/retriever crosses.

- Some 21,000 blind and partially-sighted people have experienced the independence a guide dog can bring.

- The association needs more than £50 million a year to carry out its work.

- This money comes entirely from voluntary donations - two thirds of it from legacies and the rest from fundraising events.

- The charity is supported by about 10,000 volunteers, including puppy walkers, brood-stock holders, dog boarders and thousands of local fundraisers.

- Guide dogs generally retire at the age of nine or 10. Many stay with their owner, as a pet

- There are about 220 guide dog owners in East Anglia.

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