Mudgee Field Days | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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03 July, 2015

Mudgee Field Days

Sandra Capper's painting of a fruit bowl

Guiding the Way at Mudgee Field Days

As the leading provider of Guide Dogs and other mobility aids that enable people with impaired vision to get around their communities safely and independently, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is attending the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days to raise awareness of, and funds for, its free local services.

There are an estimated 280,000 Australians with uncorrectable vision loss (in 2014), 100,000 of whom live in NSW and the ACT, and these figures are predicted to increase by more than 20% by 2020.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT hopes that its attendance at the Field Days will raise awareness of its specialised services, while also communicating the growing need for financial support.

To help raise funds, Guide Dogs branded merchandise will be on sale, as well as postcards made by well-known local artist Sandra Capper.

Sandra's involvement with Guide Dogs commenced in 1990, when her husband Owen Capper, who was already profoundly hearing impaired, developed vision loss, which progressed rapidly until he was left with almost no vision.

Sandra Capper's postcards for sale

Very early in Owen's journey he received orientation and mobility training from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, to improve his independence, using a white cane - his 'Guide Dog'. Owen's contact with Guide Dogs continued until he died in August 2011

By sharing her story, Sandra hopes that people will become more aware of the variety of services that Guide Dogs NSW/ACT can provide.

Indeed, while training Guide Dogs is an important part of the charity's work, their most common program is showing people with impaired vision how to safely move through different environments, using a range of mobility aids and electronic devices such as canes and GPS devices.

Since her husband's passing, Sandra has been selling her original paintings and postcards as a way of raising money for the organisation that helped her husband for 21 years. So far she has raised $1200 from her paintings and $1600 from her postcards, with all the profits going straight to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

"I wanted to give something back to the community," she explained.

On Friday 10th July, Mudgee locals and visitors will have the chance to purchase Sandra's postcards and speak to her in person about her experiences, at the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT information and merchandise stand (number C11).

Staff from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will also be available to discuss other ways the public can support the organisation, such as including a gift in their will.

"Bequests are a very special and valuable way in which a supporter can help us to make a real difference to the life of someone who is blind or vision impaired," said Sally Biles, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's Planned Giving Manager.

"Over the years, bequests have allowed Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to evolve and to meet the growing demand for our services.

"Should you generously decide to leave a gift in your will to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, please let us know so we can keep you up to date with our work and invite you to our Guide Dog Graduation days at our training centre as well as other supporter events."

For more information about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's free, local services visit www.guidedogs.com.au or contact their regional office in Orange on 6362 6625.