Saturday, February 13, 2010

Charity provides 1,500 dogs for the deaf

Charity provides 1,500 dogs for the deaf

WO women involved with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People were among a plethora of visitors to Henley Rotary Club’s lunch meeting at Henley Golf Club last week.

Sally Botwright, one of the charity’s volunteers, gave an illustrated talk about its work and one of the beneficiaries, Jenny Smith, who is profoundly deaf, brought along her labrador hearing dog, Molly.

Mrs Botwright explained how the organisation developed from a pilot scheme launched at the Crufts Dog Show in 1982.

The early work and training of the dogs took place at kennels in Chinnor.

Four years later, a training centre at Lewknor was purchased and Hearing Dogs became a registered charity.


A training centre in North Yorkshire followed in 1994 and in 1996 a former stud farm at Saunderton in Buckinghamshire was purchased as the charity’s headquarters and replacement for Lewknor as the training centre for the South.

Mrs Botwright said the chairty had placed 1,500 dogs with deaf people over the past 27 years.

Douglas Ellis proposed the vote of thanks.

At this week’s meeting of the club, president Karl Kuhnke read a letter of thanks from Mrs Smith and Molly, enclosing leaflets about possible group visits to the Grange headquarters and training centre at Saunderton.

The club was also honoured last week to welcome Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin, who had presented the awards at the club’s Youth Speaks competition the previous evening.

She was accompanied by her husband Richard and PA Nicki Taylor. They were there to discuss the club’s possible assistance at events in aid of her two chosen charities for her year of office, the Staying Alive Foundation and Henley Youth Centre.

Malcolm Leonard, a member of the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge, said that the two clubs between them had raised about £4,500 with a street collection over the previous weekend to but ShelterBoxes for survivors of the Haiti earthquake.