Blind pensioner to walk length of Britain with trusty guide dog by her side

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A blind pensioner is to walk the equivalent of the length of Great Britain for charity with the help of her trusty guide dog

Jean Fairfield, a volunteer for Guide Dogs from Northwich, Cheshire, will raise money for the organisation which has helped her over the past 20 years.

Mrs Fairfield, 72, started walking in February, averaging between eight to 10 miles each day around her home town with Alice, a seven-year-old yellow Labrador and Golden Retriever cross, and her husband Robert.

She told TeamDogs she had already walked 1,000 miles but wanted to take her tally higher and extend it to make landmark distance.

Jean said: “I have walked all of these miles in my home area of Northwich, going up and down the pavements of the local bypass and a circular mile route which surrounds my estate.

“It did start off as 12 marathons for the 12 months we were in the lockdown, then I took it to 20 marathons because I've been with Guide Dogs now for 20 years, and then I carried on and carried on, and I've done around 1,000 miles now.

“I'm going to extend it by 129 miles… from what Google tells me, that's the long way round from Land's End to John O'Groats, even though it's just been around where I live!”

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The pensioner has always been blind in her left eye, but in 2000 following a head injury, the retina in her right eye attached, and she was given a guide dog to maintain her independence.

“Guide Dogs have become part of my family. I've felt very welcomed by the charity", she added.

“It's a joy to know them all, and I can't thank them enough for the guide dogs they have given me. I wanted to give something back.”

Mrs Fairfield has already raised £710 for the charity, with the aim of getting to £750 before her challenge is up; she said in the future she would like to do more charity challenges, including a skydive.

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Tracey Digby, community fundraising and relationship manager for Guide Dogs said: “Volunteers like Jean are amazing and a vital part of our fundraising.

“When Jean first started this walk, she was going to do 20 marathons to celebrate 20 years of being a guide dog owner… she has already exceeded this, and it looks like there is no stopping her!”

Visit Mrs Fairfield's fundraising page here.

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