Great Barton mum meets trainee guide dog named after late son
Guide Dogs for the Blind supporters arranged for Violet Whiting to meet a very special trainee guide dog.
For Ronnie the black Labrador is named after 93-year-old Violet’s farm worker son who was a long term guide dogs fund raiser and it took supporters only three months to raise the £5,000 needed to buy the dog in his memory.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association even changed its naming rules so the dog could be called Ronnie.
Violet and her family are from Great Barton where her son Ronnie had worked on a local farm from the day he left school.
Guide dogs fund raiser Bryan Garnham, also from Great Barton, said: “Ronnie used to cut down dead trees and log them in the woods the farmer had given me permission to take logs from and he never charged me a penny.
“I reckon over the years that must have raised £9,000.”
Ronnie was only 60 when he was diagnosed with cancer and told he only had a month to live. After his death his friends and family decided to raise money for a dog in his memory.
Violet said: “I would like to thank all those people who managed to raise money for Ronnie in only three months.”
Bryan thought it would be good if the dog was named after his friend, but guide dog litters are named in alphabetical order with all the puppies in a litter having names beginning with the same letter.
Bryan said: “We could have waited for ages to get to the letter R, so I explained the situation to the association and they said we could have the next available puppy.”
Ronnie the dog is currently in training with guide dog puppy walkers in Walton-on-the-Naze so they met Violet, her daughter Ruth and Bryan in Manningtree, which is about half way between there and Great Barton.