Guide dog Marcel is Josephine’s freedom

Josephine with her guide dog Marcel at Broughshane WI.
Josephine with her guide dog Marcel at Broughshane WI.

The vital work carried out by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was brought home to a local WI group last week.

Guest speaker,Josephine McCormick, with her guide dog, Marcel, recounted her own personal story for members of Broughshane Women’s Institute.

Josephine, married with three children, lost her sight at the age of thirty-two but she taught herself to be independent and entertained members with anecdotes of the early difficulties she experienced.

After coping on her own for seven years she went to Manor House in Torquay, a rehabilitation centre for persons with sight loss where she learnt how to live and manage her life without sight.

In 1984 a guide dog was selected to fit her personality. Josephine explained that her guide dog gives her independence, freedom to get out and about and has made an enormous difference to her life.

Marcel, a black Labrador Retriever cross, is her fourth dog. Marcel is eleven although guide dogs usually retire at eight years of age. Josephine has decided to keep Marcel but if an owner opts not to keep his or her dog it is found a good home.

Josephine explained that it costs £50,000 to train a guide dog. To-day there are 100 guide dogs in Northern Ireland.

Sandra Adams proposed a vote of thanks to Josephine for her inspiring address. President Eileen Mol congratulated members on winning two awards in the Scrapbook competition - Crystal Bowl (best Front page) and the Waringstown Cup (Open section).

Three new members were welcomed and sympathy expressed to all members who had family bereavements. She also congratulated Fiona Marshall on the birth of a grandson.

Members were reminded of the Table Quiz on Friday, 8th April at 8pm in the Community Centre. The annual outing will take on Saturday, 4th June to Mount Stewart. Gwen Irwin won the magazine prize. Broughshane winners in the area competitions were: Mary Robinson (knitted hat), Edna McMaster (German biscuits), Marlene Adams (flower arrangement), and Martha Wilson (photograph - patterns in nature). Supper brought the evening to a close.