In January members of Stanhoe and Barwick WI heard that Ruby, Ben, Sadie, Brian and Jasmine have all been wonderful companions, and saviours, for Gill Southgate for over 40 years.
A petite lady, keen to keep on living life to the full, Gill lost her sight in a road accident at the age of 18. A white stick proved to be a disadvantage, so a lucky meeting with Ruby, a trained Guide Dog for the Blind, acquired for just 50p, allowed for continuation of a remarkable lifestyle, with marriage, two small boys, and a job in the real world as an audio typist for the next 35 years.
photo: Rosemary Brown
The ups and downs of getting and living with a guide dog had us laughing, but also full of admiration for the pair of them.
We finished with a stern warning; “Guide dogs should never be fed by the public, and never be stroked or spoken to when in harness. They are at work and must not be distracted.” “But always offer assistance if it looks necessary as it is always gratefully received.”
It was a heart-warming afternoon, and further admiration came along when we tried to interpret Braille as used for notes and in a children’s story book.
So we were in good form when the WI business followed and Julia Walton talked us through the six Resolutions put forward by the NFWI for the 2017 AGM, to find our final choice. And our president suggested a range of options for events for safer driving in the coming year.
You never know what opportunities will be put forward at a WI meeting.