A South Tyneside businessman has made it his mission to raise £5,000 to pay for a guide dog for the blind.
Tony Singh experienced first hand the loss of sight when he suffered an allergic reaction to treatment for an eye infection two years ago.
His temporary blindness lasted six weeks.
Following the death of Andy Briggs - the father of one of his customer’s who also suffered blidness in his later years - Mr Singh is hoping to raise £5,000 through hosting a raffle at the Hedworth Hall, in Dean Road, South Shields, on New Year’s Eve in his memory.
The money will help to sponsor and name a guide dog puppy as well as fund it through the first year of training.
The tickets have been on sale over the Christmas period and will also be available on New Year’s Eve night with prizes including a PS4, a hamper of spirits, a set of fully-tinted windows for a vehicle, a signed Alan Shearer shirt and other items up for grabs.
Mr Singh said: “There is nothing worse than people losing their sight.
“I lost my sight temporarily two years ago and it was so difficult.
“Then following the death of Kevin’s father Andy, who was a regular to my shop in Whiteleas, we wanted to do something in his memory as he also lost his sight in his later years.
“We just want to be able to give someone who has lost their sight the chance to have some freedom by sponsoring a guide dog.”
The average working life of a guide dog is six to seven year. Last years there were 5,015 active guide dog owners in the UK and costs around £56, 800 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement.
Guide Dogs for the Blind rely heavily on donations.
The raffle is being co-ordinated by Hedworth Hall manager Carl Mowatt and tickets are available - at £2 a strip or £5 for three strips by calling in at the Hedworth Hall.
Winners will be drawn on New Year’s Eve.
For information on Guide Dogs for the Blind visit www.guidedogs.org.uk