Four generations of city family help raise £1m for guide dogs

Four generations of Norwich Guide Dogs including Doris Lloyd, centre, who was awarded a lifetime certificate in 2017

Four generations of Norwich Guide Dogs including Doris Lloyd, centre, who was awarded a lifetime certificate in 2017 - Credit: Contributed

The lives of droves of people have been transformed thanks to a city guide dog charity which has raised more than £1 million since its inception. 

Norwich Guide Dogs has been running since November 1979 with £1,388,535 being raise in that time. 

Norwich Guide Dogs fundraising outside The Forum 

Norwich Guide Dogs fundraising outside The Forum - Credit: Contributed

Of the original seven founding committee members Doris Lloyd and her husband Tony remained with the branch until their respective deaths in 2017 and 2006. 

Their granddaughter Emily then joined the committee in 2013 and recalls numerous flag days and fetes where her family would open up their garden to all Norwich Guide Dog owners for an afternoon tea party. 

She said: "My grandmother Doris continued on the committee until she herself passed away in 2018 at the ripe old age of 97.

"During the 38 years my grandmother had been on the Norwich committee over £1.3million had been raised by this branch and she was awarded a lifetime certificate in 2017.

"I feel immensely proud of everything she and my grandfather achieved and the help they gave to guide dog owners over the years." 

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Among those who have directly benefitted from the money raised by the branch is Annette Smart, who lives just outside Hellesdon, and who became sight impaired in her teenage years. 

Annette Smart fundraising for Norwich Guide Dogs outside The Forum in Norwich

Annette Smart fundraising for Norwich Guide Dogs outside The Forum in Norwich - Credit: Contributed

She said: "The service provided for guide dog users over the years is a lot wider than in previous years and we have come a long way to achieve that. 

"It was a challenge when I was a teenager because it was before the Disability Discrimination Act and Equality Act.

"It's nice to know the money we are raising is actually going to benefit people." 

Annette Smart, Jamie Hambro, Lisa Corbitt and Scott Vallance 

Annette Smart, Guide Dog trustee Jamie Hambro, Lisa Hewitt Corbett and Scott Vallance - Credit: Contributed

The charity was able to continue fundraising during the pandemic through virtual events, but the main thrust of the fundraising is bucket collections at supermarkets, gardens and on the street.

As part of the post-lockdown events, the charity also held a 90th anniversary afternoon tea at The Best Western Annesley House Hotel in Norwich in October, which volunteers, family and friends attended.

A total of £10,000 was raised to name two Guide Dog puppies to celebrate the anniversary. Horning Masonic lodge donated £1,000 on the day too.  

Over the last five years, the Norwich charity has also sold Christmas cards in in St Peter Mancroft Church. 

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