This year marks an incredible eight decades since the very first issue of Guide Dogs’ flagship magazine, Forward, was published. The celebratory 80th anniversary edition of the magazine is out today, and I don’t want to give too many spoilers about its contents, but it does have some extra pages so we could fit everything in!
We’re honoured to have a guest welcome greeting from our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh, and there’s a feature about Forward’s formative years. The history of volunteering at Guide Dogs is also detailed, and you can find out more about one of our new vet teams.
You can read the spring/summer 2023 edition of Forward on our website, where you’ll find accessible PDF, plain text and the audio versions of the magazine. It’s also available in standard print, large print, Braille and on audio CD from our Supporter Care Team – a far cry from the early days when Forward was a simple set of typewritten pages held together with a card cover, and the only alternative format available was Braille.
Forward brings everyone in the Guide Dogs Family together within its pages and that’s best demonstrated in one of the regular sections, Thanks to our Supporters. This part of the magazine details just a few of the many amazing things that our volunteers and supporters do to raise money for Guide Dogs, and it’s a truly reader-generated section. It’s one of my favourite parts of Forward to compile, and I always try to make sure that each of the UK’s four nations is represented.
Another regular feature that’s wildly popular is the caption competition. I often get entries on the same day I hit send on the email version of the magazine, and postal entries come flooding in within just a few days of an edition landing on doormats. Some caption suggestions are strange, some are a little too obvious, some are cheesy but there’s always at least one nugget of gold in there somewhere. We absolutely love choosing a winner in the office!
It’s also fun seeing the photos submitted for the caption competition, as we always like to use something from our volunteers, service users or supporters. If you have something for the autumn/winter 2023 edition, which is out towards the end of November, please do email it to me.
Modern issues of Forward always have a long-read service user’s story, and I never tire of hearing how Guide Dogs helps people with sight loss of all ages – and their families – to fulfil their potential and live the life they choose. This edition features three-year-old Ruby and her mum, Magdalena. The way Magdalena describes what they went through with Ruby’s diagnosis before she got in touch with Guide Dogs is incredibly moving, so I thoroughly recommend having a read.
It’s been a huge honour to put together the 80th anniversary issue of Forward, and I hope you enjoy reading the magazine as much as I’ve enjoyed compiling it.
If you’d like to start receiving Forward, please get in touch with our Supporter Care Team whether via email or on 0800 953 0113 (open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday).