Members of staff at Specsavers in Kettering have gone the extra mile for national assistance charity Guide Dogs UK, raising £5,000 following a 180-mile cycling challenge last month. 

Charity pledge

Store directors Mark Turner and David Claffey pledged to raise the money to sponsor the training of a guide dog puppy. Along with colleagues Kiran Parmar-Hill and Henry Scott, they took to their saddles for two days of cycling to reach their fundraising goal. 

The team, who visited 17 Specsavers stores on their route across Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, was joined by Specsavers director of retail, Neil Lunn, who has commended the group for their efforts. 

‘It was an absolute pleasure to be involved with this event,’ Neil commented. ‘All four of the guys were really motivated to raise as much money as they could for Guide Dogs UK, so its brilliant to see them hit their fundraising target.’

Mark said: ‘We’re delighted to have completed the challenge with such success. We decided to support Guide Dogs UK at the end of last year, setting ourselves the goal of raising £5,000 to go towards the training of a guide dog puppy. Now that we’ve hit our target, we’re looking forward to the next step.’

Community reponse

The store will now hold a ‘name the puppy’ competition to find a fitting title for their four-legged companion, who will eventually be placed with someone living with sight loss in the local area to support them in daily life. 

David added: ‘We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped us reach our fundraising goal. We’ve had a fantastic response from our local community, as well as from all the Specsavers stores we visited.

‘It was a brilliant two days and definitely worth getting a few sore muscles for! We look forward to naming our sponsored guide dog puppy and seeing how it will make a difference to someone’s life in such a significant way.’

Guide dog puppies begin their training at six to eight weeks old, when volunteer puppy walkers introduce them to the sights, sounds and smells of the world around them. The young pups receive basic training for the first year, before learning more complex commands to help them act as someone’s eyes.

For more information about Guide Dogs UK, visit

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