Staff from a Darlington opticians have raised enough money to name and sponsor a Guide Dog puppy – and have named it in memory of a late colleague who lost her battle with cancer last year.

Specsavers in Darlington raised £2,500 through 12 months of various fundraising and, as a result of their efforts, got the opportunity to name a six-month-old black Labrador puppy.

They chose the name Austin, as a tribute to Liz Austin, who passed away to pancreatic cancer in July 2017.

A word from the store supervisor

Le-anne Potter, store supervisor at Specsavers Darlington, said: ‘We were really keen to fundraise for Guide Dogs UK as the work the charity carries out really helps transforms the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted.

‘We are delighted to have raised enough money last year to help support the charity’s amazing work and are thrilled to have the opportunity to name the puppy we have sponsored. Liz had a huge heart and was loved by all members of staff and customers, so we are proud to name the puppy in her memory.

‘On behalf of everyone at the store, I would like to say a huge thanks to all customers who generously donated to help make this happen. It is great to know that we have made a significant contribution to such a worthy cause.’

It costs just over £5,000 to breed and walk each guide dog puppy, with the lifetime cost of a guide dog amounting to over £55,000.

Money raised for the charity not only helps to train future guide dogs but also allows staff to work closely with the new owners and provide them with all the essential items they will need and financial assistance to cover food and veterinary bills.

All Darlington store information