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Bury St Edmunds guide dog owner wins award for helping to make new train carriages more accessible

A Bury St Edmunds guide dog owner has scooped a top accolade for helping to make train carriages more accessible for the visually impaired.

Jim Watt, 62, collected the Innovation Award at the Guide Dogs 2019 People Awards in Atherton earlier this month after travelling to Switzerland last year to consult on Greater Anglia’s new carriage design.

As a volunteer ambassador for Guide Dogs, he has worked with Greater Anglia on a new train familiarisation project for the visually impaired to give them the chance to explore the new carriages before travelling on them.

Jim Watt and his guide dog Legend
Jim Watt and his guide dog Legend

Mr Watt said: “For me to win this award was mind-blowing and I feel so humbled. I found it very hard to take in.”

He has lived with sight loss since his early teens and hadn’t travelled independently on a train for 40 years due to lack of confidence until he was partnered with his first guide dog Legend in 2015.

Rebecca Richardson, Greater Anglia’s accessibility manager, said: “It is a pleasure to work with Jim and his valuable input has helped make our new trains more accessible for all.”

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