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Guide dog Buddy keeps PC’s memory alive

Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Yorkshire Evening Post

A GUIDE dog bought in memory of a West Yorkshire police officer has inspired a fun-packed fundraising day to sponsor two more dogs.

West Yorkshire Police motorcyclist PC Andy Winterburn died when he fell from his motorbike almost two years ago.

One of Andy's best friends, Mark Smith, raised the £5,000 needed to sponsor Buddy to be trained by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association through a charity golf day last year.

Now Mark is hoping to collect enough from this year's event next Friday to sponsor two puppies.
He said: "It was a way of paying tribute to Andy. He dedicated his life to taking care of people and so sponsoring a guide dog who will spend the rest of its working life looking after someone who needs it most seemed an appropriate and fitting tribute to my friend."

Mark chose the name Buddy not only because of his close friendship with PC Winterburn but also as the two were scuba diving partners.

"Whenever I was with Andy I always felt safe. We like to think that when the guide dog goes out with the visually impaired person, it will give them a similar sense of security."

Around 100 golfers, many of whom Mark enlisted through his employers Avonside Gas, will be at the event at Ilkley Golf Club today (Friday June 17) and Buddy, who is almost ten months old, may also drop in as a guest of honour.

PC Winterburn, of Sherburn-in-Elmet, was 43 when he died after the accident at Chain Bar roundabout at junction 26 of the M62. His widow Karen said the tribute made her very proud.

"Andy would have been over the moon to think something like this has come from such a disaster."

Debbie Wheeler, from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said: "Mark and the team at Avonside Gas have been truly wonderful, not only have they put the fun in to fundraising but they have become part of the guide dog family though the sponsorship of guide dog puppy Buddy.

"The freedom, mobility and independence that Buddy will bring to a blind or partially sighted person is truly priceless gift."

Prizes for a raffle and auction at the golf day are still needed. Anyone who would like to support the event should contact Mark on 07979 703710.

The GDBA is always looking for firms to sponsor a guide dog puppy. Contact 07909 906526 or 0113 2756326.