Meet Colin Bowley, a fundraising volunteer from Broxbourne whose Guide Dogs journey started 6.5 years ago, when he first became a guide dog owner.
Soon after being paired, Colin realised the life-changing impact that a guide dog could bring to someone’s life. His furry friend, Arthur, became more than a guide; he was a loyal companion who helped him navigate the world with confidence.
Driven by a desire to give back, Colin decided to volunteer for Guide Dogs, and eventually landed on the fundraising role. Soon he wasn’t only attending events but organising them, taking on the responsibility of Group Coordinator for his local area. With his help, the local group has grown to be quite a force in the community.
When he was a few years in, inspiration struck – why not jump straight in and try to do something big, hopefully raising enough to name a future guide dog puppy? With the support of the local fundraising group and his wife Anne, also a volunteer and group Treasurer, Colin decided to embark on a series of extraordinary fundraising initiatives each month for an entire year.
Challenges included activities such as skydiving (where Arthur stayed happily on the ground, of course), walking over the top of the O2 arena and walking 60 kilometres from Eastbourne to Hove with Anne. He says that the scariest challenge he did was abseiling down Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth and the most fun was doing Europe’s longest zip wire in north Wales.
With an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family and the local community, Colin managed to raise a whopping £15,000, naming three guide dog puppies – Muttley, Taffy and, to honour of his loyal guide dog and companion, Arthur.
Since then, Colin has continued to work hard as a Group Coordinator and has also become a speaker, travelling to groups and events to share his story and experiences with Arthur. This year, Colin was honoured by winning our Partner award at the Local Volunteer Awards, celebrating his dedication to working with others to make a difference. His volunteer manager Ellie Burke says, “Colin is such a personable and kind person, so it is no wonder he has such a large and committed group. He’s always encouraging others to get involved and he has such an infectious personality.”
By raising thousands of pounds and sponsoring 5 guide dog partnerships, Colin and his group have helped to support our life-changing services. However, Colin is eager to share his gratitude for his group and the tireless work they put in.
"I'd like to thank all of my volunteers. Like me, they don't have to do it and, unlike me, they're working or they're puppy raisers, they're fosterers. They're busy people but they still take time to help out.
“Without them we couldn't do it.”
If you would like to volunteer and help make a difference, visit our Fundraising page to find out more.
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