May 21 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 26, 2012
The husband of a profoundly deaf woman who devoted the last five years of her life to fundraising for hearing dogs has appealed for help to realise her dying wish.
Generous Eastern Daily Press readers helped Dereham resident Anne Holmes exceed her £1,000 fundraising goal for 2012 after she appeared in the newspaper in May, and she set herself a new target of £2,000 by the end of the year.
However, the 67 year old was diagnosed with cancer in June and was still about £600 short of her goal when she died in the Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich 12 weeks later.
Her husband Frank, 89, said her life was transformed after she received Odell, a Yorkshire terrier and toy poodle cross, from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in August 2007.
He said: “When I first came here she would not go out without me and she could not converse with people because she could not hear what they were saying, but when she had the dog people approached her more and she could lip read. She was a very good talker.
“I would not go with her into the town because I can’t stand for long and so many people stopped to talk to her. I was always a spare part.”
Odell alerted Mrs Holmes to the doorbell, smoke alarm and cooker timer, and even learned signals that her blood sugar level was too low and pestered her at night until she had something to bring her blood glucose levels back to normal.
Mrs Holmes and Odell became familiar figures around Dereham as they collected donations outside high street shops and addressed local organisations, and since her death the charity has allowed Mr Holmes to keep Odell as a pet dog.
He said: “The last five years it was Anne’s life that she should raise money for hearing dogs so other people could get the same.
“If she could raise £2,000 she would be over the moon because she did not think she would raise £1,000 when she started.”
Send cheques made out to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to Frank Holmes, 12 Quebec Hall Bungalows, Quebec Road, Dereham, NR19 2QY.