I am now having my second week of training with my new guide dog Ritchie following the retirement of my first guide dog Peter. Guide Dogs have been absolutely fantastic to me and the new partnership is building well thanks to my great guide dog trainer Adrian.
I am determined to help Guide Dogs with its campaigns both to promote the charity itself and for other visually impaired people for whom the campaigns provide support.
One particular gripe of mine is pavement and street clutter that causes me obstruction and difficulty. So when the Guide Dogs asked me to go with them to present a petition signed by 5,000 people to Downing Street as part of their Streets Ahead campaign, I quickly agreed, forgetting that busy places like London are the places I fear most and find most difficult to navigate. The handing over of the petition at Downing Street was last Wednesday and I duly went on my journey into the termites nest (London).
Although the journey to London was relatively simple by bus and train to Paddington, I had to make do with my white cane because Ritchie, my new guide dog, was not yet ready to make such a journey. Representatives from Guide Dogs met me from the train at Paddington and we then made our way to Downing Street by taxi. The first security stop was at “plebgate”.
Thankfully I resisted making any sarcastic jokes to the policeman manning the gates.
It was here that we met The Right Honourable Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham. He had been working closely with Guide Dogs to get this petition organised. We, and all of our possessions, were put through a scanner to make sure that we weren’t carrying anything threatening and then it was straight along to number 10 to knock on the big door.
The petition was quickly handed over but unfortunately we did not get to meet Prime Minister David Cameron, because he was off on a trip to Brussels dealing with EU business.
After that we all had our photographs taken by the front door of number 10 and then outside Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
Unfortunately by the time I had made a quick detour to Islington to meet a friend it was 5pm and the termites nest was absolutely humming. Miraculously I managed to stay on my feet and make my way back to Paddington to catch the train back to Oxford.
But I must say that much credit goes to the amazing young stockbroker who helped me at Paddington and King’s Cross stations. I have to admit feeling an amazing sense of empowerment as thousands of people rushed towards me in one of the underground corridors but the crowds of people, pushchairs, children and scooters parted like the seas for Moses as they saw my white cane being swept from side to side.
Unfortunately I was so tired by the time the train got to Oxford that I was fast asleep and went right past and on to Charlbury. But never mind, it was a satisfying thing to have done and I feel that I met a great challenge.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
8:30am Monday 6th July 2015
SISTER Frances Dominica has yet to rule out returning to the hospices she founded despite being asked to leave following historical sexual abuse allegations, her lawyer has said.
7:39pm Monday 6th July 2015
HOSPITAL porters have voted in favour of strike action in a row over pay and conditions.
5:44pm Monday 6th July 2015
AN OXFORD man is wanted by police on suspicion of breaching the terms of his release.
4:19pm Monday 6th July 2015
A THIRD A400M Atlas aircraft landed at RAF Brize Norton last night after being delivered from an assembly plant in Seville, Spain.
3:49pm Monday 6th July 2015
A WOMAN accused of trying to murder an elderly hospital patient has been granted bail until she stands trial in October.
3:04pm Monday 6th July 2015
RAIL services have returned to normal between Oxford and London Paddington.