Guide dog puppy to be named after Blackpool gran who left money in her will to charity campaign

A dedicated group of Blackpool women have raised thousands of pounds towards the upkeep of a specially-bred puppy, which will be intensively trained to assist one blind or partially sighted person through their daily life.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 3:45 pm
Name A Pup Blackpool’s guide dogs, Millie, Nellie and Tillie

The new guide dog will be named Jessie after Jessie Clayton, 91, who died in February 2020 and left £300 in her will to the Name A Pup Blackpool group, helping them reach their £2,500 goal which allowed them to name the new pup.

Jessie’s daughter Sue Halliwell, 66, said: “It means a lot to us as a family because we are puppy walkers for the Guide Dogs. We’re onto our fifth puppy now, and Jessie was grandma to all of them.

“She wasn’t a guide dog user herself, but the dogs all loved her, and she wanted to support the dogs.

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Michelle Tomlinson, Lisa Daley and Nicky Askew of the Name A Pup campaign

“There are 180,000 people waiting for a guide dog in the UK. That’s why we do what we do, because they deserve to have their independence.”

Nicky Askew, 51, from Anchorsholme, runs the Name A Pup campaign with her friends Michelle Tomlinson and Lisa Daley. All three women are legally blind, and have benefited from the companionship of a guide dog.

Nicky said: “We have done two triathlons, a mountain climb, a fashion show, a disco night and a dine in the dark. The working life of a guide dog costs over £55,000; any money we get goes towards that.

“A guide dog can be a massive confidence booster. When I got my guide dog my confidence soared. I went to community dance classes for the first time.

Jessie left money in her will to the guide dogs

“When you are blind, you have to rely on other people. You have no independence. But when I have a guide dog, it gives me the independence I need just to do simple things likewalking on the beach or buying a loaf of bread.”

Sue said: "Nicky couldn't even take her child to school because she couldn't hold his hand and the cane and walk at the same time, but since she got her guide dog Tillie there was no stopping her. She was climbing mountains and she did a triathlon. Tillie was her life. We want to make sure everyone like Nicky gets that chance."