OK, I know this has absolutely nothing to vintage British bikes but it’s a subject close to my heart.
We’d hired a coach, which rather auspiciously, picked us up outside Ladbrokes across the street from my flat at 8am. Everyone was in high spirits, especially my mate Betch who’d ‘been on it’ until 4am that morning and was convinced he’d picked the Derby winner and was loudly declaring it to anyone within earshot.
As usual, I walked up to Betch, put my arm around him and said “Hello mate, it’s Ed”.
Betch is in his 30s and a few years ago he started losing his sight and is now completely blind. As my Mum is also blind, I’m acutely aware of the challenges faced by blind people, so to save Betch any embarrassment I always let him know its me approaching him.
After an alcohol fulled journey to Epsom (thank god I’m tea total!), we set up camp and everyone sat around chatting and enjoying the sunshine. Betch was sat across from me with his wife Charlotte, who, by the way, Betch is now totally reliant upon all day everyday and I overheard someone mention a guide dog. I asked Betch if he was thinking of getting one, he said yes but he wouldn’t get it for about a year.
“I wonder how much they cost?”
“I don’t have to pay for one Ed, I’d get it for free.”
“Yes, I know Betch but it must cost a bit to train a dog, must be 2 or 3 grand at least.”
For some reason I was curious about this and looked online. When I found the page on the Guide Dogs for the Blind web site I almost fell off my chair.
£50 GRAND!! £50 grand to breed, raise, train and support a single guide dog!
And it gets worse.
Bearing in mind Betch is in his 30s and god willing will live a long a natural life, lets assume to 70 or so, that’s possibly another 35 years. Then factor in that, according to Guide Dogs for the Blind, the average dog will work for six to seven years, meaning Betch could have five dogs during his lifetime. At £50k per dog that’s a staggering £250,000.
Again, according to Guide Dogs for the Blind, at the end of 2015 there were 4,994 working guide dogs in the UK.
So, lets do the maths. 4,994 working dogs at £50K per dog is £249,700,000.
Just think about that for a moment.
Almost £250 million pounds spent on getting those 4,994 guide dogs trained to a level capable of giving blind people a new lease of life and taking a great deal of strain off other family members.
Taking that one stage further, if like Betch, the average blind person will have five dogs during their lifetime, that’s £249,700,000 multiplied by five. Using the calculator on my phone that works out to 1.2485e9.
Yes, that’s right, 1.2485e9 according to my calculator which I assume is a lot of money.
To cut a long story short, I’m not trying to raise £50K for Betch to have a dog, he’ll get one without our help but if he has one, that’s one less dog for someone else. So, as you say at work, “what business have we got in the pipeline?” applies to this. As one blind person gets a dog, the money is needed to train another. And another and another.
Please chip in whatever you can, even if it’s just a fiver.
Once you make a donation, please email info@vintagebritishbikes and attach your company logo and web address and we’ll put it on the site along with a running total of what has been raised until we hit, or hopefully exceed our £50K target.
That’s got to be worth £5 of anyone’s money hasn’t it? Please visit my JustGiving page to donate now.