Fitting tribute to late fundraiser Pat Orrell after £13,000 Guide Dog charity effort

Fundraisers for the Guide Dog charity, along with their leader who died in July, have been praised for raising £13,000 to fund a newly qualified Labrador.

Pat Orrell from West Boldon was group secretary of the Guide Dogs Sunderland and South Shields Fundraising Group and had volunteered since 1983. The group was formed the same year and currently has 14 volunteers.

Pat sadly passed away in July 2022. She had been nominated for many awards over the years and was a vital part of the Guide Dogs family.

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Thanks to Pat and the fundraising team, guide dog Jay is now fully paid for and ready to support someone with sight loss in his career as a working dog. The cash was raised through collections and sponsored events.

Fundraiser Pat Orrell, who passed away and Jay, the guide dog she helped to pay for.Fundraiser Pat Orrell, who passed away and Jay, the guide dog she helped to pay for.
Fundraiser Pat Orrell, who passed away and Jay, the guide dog she helped to pay for.

Sue Robinson, community fundraising relationship manager at Guide Dogs said: “Pat was passionate about the work of Guide Dogs and continually raised awareness of the charity over four decades.

"With the help of Pat the group truly became the face of Guide Dogs in Sunderland and South Shields.

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“She was a well-respected and trusted spokesperson for the group, organising and attending collections at supermarkets, in the town centre and at football matches, in all kinds of weather, raising money for Guide Dogs consistently every year.

“We are so grateful for everything she did and she will be very much missed.”

Pat Orrell.Pat Orrell.
Pat Orrell.

There are around 9,000 people living with sight loss across the Sunderland and South Tyneside area. While not all of these people are registered blind, their sight loss is significant enough to impact their daily lives.

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It costs around £55,000 to breed, train and support a guide dog throughout their life.

Guide Dogs continues to support the dogs during their time working as a guide, so the £13,000 figure covers the cost of food, vets’ bills and ongoing training after the dog is partnered with someone with sight loss.

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Jay the guide dog.Jay the guide dog.
Jay the guide dog.
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The Sunderland and South Shields group is looking for a secretary and coordinator, as well as other volunteers, to help continue to raise money and awareness for Guide Dogs.

Anyone interested in joining the group as a volunteer should email Sue at [email protected], or visit