Guide Dogs Ambassador Wendi Peters has said a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to two dedicated local volunteers, Derek and Norma Stent, who have been working with the charity for over 30 years.
Derek and Norma have been the passionate and devoted face of Guide Dogs in Bath for over 35 years.
They have ‘puppy walked’ (looked after and trained a guide dog in its first year) more than 50 guide dog puppies since taking up the voluntary role in 1981.
Derek was also the Group Chair of the Bath fundraising group for over 35 years.
Wendi Peters, Ambassador for the charity, who is starring as Fairy Bon-Bon in the Theatre Royal Bath’s pantomime Beauty & The Beast until 12th January and is well known for her many roles on stage and TV including Coronation Street and Hetty Feather, was keen to meet Derek and Norma to say thank you for everything they’ve done for the charity.
Wendi said: “I’m proud to have been an ambassador for Guide Dogs since 2012. My husband Kenny has a rare hereditary condition called PXE which means he only has peripheral vision.
“He’s had personal experience of the hurdles facing people with visual impairment. The work that Guide Dogs volunteers do is invaluable and I want to support that as much as I can.”
Puppy Walking has brought years of love and friendship to the Stents, and the impact of these puppies is even greater after they have graduated to being a full guide dog.
Norma said: “We get so much pleasure from our work with Guide Dogs. We’ve trained 52 puppies since 1981, the years have just flown by and we’re hoping to train our 53rd in the new year.
“We’d planned to just have one dog for a year but within a couple of weeks we were hooked! We just love having the dogs.
“The friendship that you get through Guide Dogs and the people that you meet – it’s a lovely way of having a dog. When you see your dog actually working with a blind person, it’s a wonderful moment.”
The Theatre Royal welcomed the two puppies, 8-month-old black Labrador Russ, and the festively named Labrador-Golden Retriever cross Jingle, to introduce them to Wendi.
Guide Dogs are always looking for volunteer puppy walkers and fundraisers.
To find out more about puppy walking with Guide Dogs or any other volunteering opportunities, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/volunteer or call the local Guide Dogs team on 0345 143 0224.