Guide dog Deva pays visit to the South Shields venue where customers have helped fund his training.

A South Tyneside venue renowned for its celebrity sporting visitors welcomed a guest of a different kind at the weekend.

Deva - a 15-month-old Golden Retriever - along with his trainers called in to the Hedworth Hall to meet the man who is funding his guide dog training.

Hedworth Hall's sponsored Guide Dog visit.

Hedworth Hall's sponsored Guide Dog visit.

Last year, the venue’s owner decided to raise £5,000 with the help of his staff and customers for Guide Dogs for the Blind, through raffles and manager of the venue Carl Mowatt taking part in the Great North Run.

The money has been used to sponsor Deva - named after Mr Singh’s grandfather - as well as fund his first year of training.

Mr Singh, who himself temporarily lost his sight a few years ago, said: “It’s hard when you lose your sight and by sponsoring a guide dog, hopefully it will help give someone a better quality of life.

“Seeing the dog and hearing what a positive impact it will have on someone’s life, it does make you realise even more just how important guide dogs are to the people they are trained to assist.

Without the generosity of people like Tony, guide dogs wouldn’t exist.

John Hopper

“I have already decided to sponsor another puppy in the near future.”

John Hopper, volunteer co-ordinator for sponsored puppy visits, with the charity, said: “We have around 5,000 guide dogs working at any one time, and have 1,300 puppies in training. Without the generosity of people like Tony, guide dogs wouldn’t exist.

“They are life-changers. Losing your sight is life-changing, so being given a guide dog helps give someone their freedom, and their independence.”

For information on Guide Dogs for the Blind visit www.guidedogs.org.uk