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Chairman of Blind Dog group receives medal

HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, the Lord Tollemache, hosts the British Empire Medal Investiture to residents from East Anglia.                FL; ANL-140513-172540009

HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, the Lord Tollemache, hosts the British Empire Medal Investiture to residents from East Anglia. FL; ANL-140513-172540009

The Chairman of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in Bury St Edmunds has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

Michael Clarke, 75, set up the Bury branch in 1981 after the death of his wife who was visually impaired.

In the 33 years since it began, the organisation has raised a massive £600,000 to train new guide dogs.

On Tuesday he was presented with his award by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk , Lord Tollemache, at a ceremony at Helmingham Hall near Stowmarket.

Michael said the organisation would never have raised so much money without the help of its dedicated volunteers.

He said: “It really was a super day at a lovely place.

“Lord Tollemache was a superb guy and he when he gave me my medal I was very proud to have it. This award is really for the generosity of the people of Bury and the hard-working committee I have been fortunate enough to chair in the last 33 years.”

Michael said the work of the charity was hugely important.

He said: “It is about the absolute freedom the guide dogs give the visually impaired.

“The are thousands who never get outside because they cannot see but with a dog they get freedom and independence.”

Along with Michael, Lord Tollemache presented medals to Colin Edgar, Musical Director of the Suffolk Constabulary Male Choir, Anne Garrod for her work as a caseworker for SSAFA, Alison Russell for services in the community around Chelsworth and Leonard Tucker for his services to agriculture and the community in Suffolk.

 

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