Sight loss trio’s triathlon

Michelle with guide dog Millie, Lisa with guide dog Nellie and Nicky with guide dog Tillie

Michelle with guide dog Millie, Lisa with guide dog Nellie and Nicky with guide dog Tillie

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Three intrepid triathlon athletes will raise funds for Guide Dogs this weekend – as their four-legged friends watch from the sidelines.

Blackpool residents Nicky Askew, Michelle Tomlinson and Lisa Daley will take part in the Fleetwood Triathlon on Sunday in the next step in their quest to raise £5,000 to Name A Puppy for Guide Dogs.

We’re hoping this will place us within touching distance of our target

Nicky, Michelle and Lisa have become firm friends, each living with visual impairment and supported by their respective guide dogs: Tillie, Millie and Nellie.

The long-standing friends’ fund-raising feats to date have included hosting a car boot sale, speaking at local schools and organising a fun-filled charitable evening, raising more than £1,500.

The inspirational trio will combine their efforts in an incredible attempt to complete their very first triathlon together.

Nicky will begin with the swim, Michelle will take the cycling leg by tandem before Lisa finishes off for the team in the run.

“We each suffer from different conditions”, said Nicky, speaking about the group’s experience of living with sight loss. We’ve been blessed with three very special girls in our lives with Tillie, Millie and Nellie and when the idea came about to raise money towards the Name A Puppy campaign, we just couldn’t wait to get started”.

Despite preparations going well, the ladies have already started setting their sights towards their next challenge to help them achieve their ambition of raising £5,000 to name a puppy, from the Guide Dogs campaign of the same name.

“We’re about a third of the way and the tremendous support since announcing the triathlon has spurred us on even more”, she added. “We’re hoping this will place us within touching distance of our target, which could help bring independence back in to the life of somebody living with sight loss.”

Nicky is no stranger to the life-changing nature of guide dogs, with guide dog Tillie having won the Guide Dog of the Year Beyond the Call of Duty Award in 2015.

Tillie alerted Nicky and her family to a life-threatening domestic fire in the middle of the night, before escorting them away from the fire and outside to safety.

Siobhan Cullen, community fund-raiser for the Guide Dogs, said: “Every now and then we come across a group of friends who challenge and support each other in a way that means the results can be truly awe-inspiring.

“It’s truly heart-warming to see the trio’s relentless ambition. We wish them all the very best of luck on a safe and successful triathlon!””

Guide Dogs rely entirely upon donations to continue their life-changing work. The guide dog service does not receive any government funding. Nicky kicks the event off at Fleetwood Swimming Baths at 9am on Sunday.

To support Nicky, Michelle and Lisa, donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/name-a-pup-blackpool.