A journey into the humming termites nest...

Gavin Hageman

Gavin Hageman

First published in News

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.

Send your Letter to the Editor

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

Delays on M40 near Bicester after vehicle fire

Oxford Mail: Lorry jackknifes on M40 causing traffic tailbacks

7:18pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

THERE are delays of up to half an hour on the M40 after an earlier vehicle fire.

Woman sexually assaulted in pub car park in Kidlington

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:21pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A woman has been sexually assaulted in a pub car park in Kidlington.

Horse killed in crash near Steeple Aston

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

2:26pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A HORSE was killed after it collided with a car near Steeple Aston yesterday.

Gritters out tonight as mercury plummets across Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail: Gritter lorries get ready to set out last night

2:17pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

OXFORDSHIRE is set for a cold snap tonight and tomorrow with temperatures as low as -2C expected in some parts of the county.

Have you seen missing 23-year-old Kerri Hutt from Witney?

Oxford Mail:

11:51am Sunday 23rd November 2014

A WOMAN from Witney has been missing since Friday.

Attack in Oxford city centre leaves two men needing hospital treatment

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree