North Wales Police Officers and staff have raised over £3,000 to help support a guide dog puppy through his first year of training.
The cash boost means that the force were also given the task of naming the puppy – and for the young black Labrador he will now be known as ‘Bobi.’
Over the past two years officers and staff have participated in the ‘Guide Dogs Name a Puppy – Change a Life’ scheme and have raised £3,130 that will assist with food, training and veterinary bills.
Fundraising activities have included cake sales, officers and staff participating in the Zip Wire challenge, sponsored walks, collections from the Emergency Services Carol Service and North Wales Police Open Day, a coffee morning and the sale of second hand books.
Bobi was born on October 12th 2017 and has now been placed with his puppy walker who will start to the skills that he will need as a future guide dog.
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “We are delighted to hear of Bobi’s arrival and on behalf of everybody at North Wales Police we wish him all the very best as he begins his journey to becoming a Guide Dog.
“We are extremely proud to have been able to raise this money which will help provide independence and freedom for someone who is blind or partially sighted. I’d like to thank all officers and staff who contributed towards our target.”
North Wales Police decided to participate in the scheme as it has a long-established link with the Guide Dogs. A prominent former Police Constable was shot and blinded whilst on duty during the early hours of August 2nd 1961.
The late PC Arthur Rowlands was patrolling the Dyfi Bridge area when he was confronted by Robert Boynton who was trying to get away on his bike. The officer was shot and left blind in both eyes. Boynton was eventually arrested and jailed.
PC Rowlands was left critically injured and spent months in hospital, but despite his disability he returned to work as a police switchboard operator, bringing his guide dog with him.
Deputy Chief Constable Pritchard said: “Mr Rowlands was held in the highest regard by all who knew him because of his extraordinary bravery and courage after being shot whilst just carrying out his duties. Despite his injuries Mr Rowlands returned to work for the Force and was a source of knowledge for scores of officers before retiring in the 1980s. We very much hope that he would be proud of the organisation for fundraising for such a worthy cause.”
Jacquie Hughes Jones from the Guide Dogs said: “This is a brilliant achievement by North Wales Police and we are so grateful. We very much enjoyed fundraising with the police and had a lot of laughs along the way.
“Arthur Rowlands was very important to Guide Dogs in North Wales, founding Cŵn Tywys Gwynedd, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
“Little Bobby is now starting on a journey which will help to transform the life of a blind or partially sighted person. A name is the first gift that a guide dog puppy receives and by naming Bobby, the generosity of the force will be remembered.”
Did you know that it costs around £50,000 over the life of a Guide Dog, so they rely on fundraising to continue to do the wonderful work they do. If you are interested in finding out how you can help please visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/