Meet South Ribble's very own guide dog - Worden!
Celebrations are underway after the birth of a very special puppy who has been named after one of South Ribble's award-winning parks.
As part of a campaign, backed by South Ribble Borough Council, hundreds of people came together last year to raise £5,000 to pay for the training of a new guide dog puppy.
They decided to call him Worden after the much-loved park in Leyland, which has earned Green Flag Awards for 20 consecutive years.
The Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Linda Wollard, who launched the Name a Puppy campaign in Worden Park last September, said: “I am thrilled to hear of Worden’s arrival and can’t wait to meet him!
“The fundraising campaign was one of the proudest things that I have been involved in as Mayor and I am delighted that Worden will be able to change someone’s life in a profound way.”
The Name a Puppy campaign allows individuals, groups and companies to give the gift of a name to a puppy that will bring independence to the life of somebody living with visual impairment.
Funds were raised through the Walk for Worden sponsored walk in Worden Park, a coffee morning at HMRC Charles House, talks and presentations to a number of local groups, car boot sales and funds raised by participants competing in the gruelling Tough Mudder competition.
With dedicated support from Leyland Guide Dogs, Worden will now join a puppy walker for 12 months before attending Guide Dog Training School.
Worden will then go on to help one of the 2 million people in the UK that are living with sight loss - a figure that could be almost 4 million by 2050.
Yvonne Onslow, Guide Dogs Volunteer and joint co-ordinator for the campaign, said: “There has been a real buzz around the place knowing Worden’s arrival has been getting closer and closer.
"The public, whose generous efforts have made this happen, have been asking almost daily!
“We now cross all of our fingers and toes in the hope that this special puppy can meet the meticulously high standards required to attend Guide Dog Training School and to qualify as a full time, life-changing working dog.”
Every hour, another person in the UK goes blind. When someone loses their sight, the charity Guide Dogs is there to make sure they don’t lose their freedom as well.
If you would like to find out how you could Name a Puppy, call Manchester Mobility Team on 01189 838 715 or email Namea.Puppy@guidedogs.org.uk