DIANE Pender from Stirches is registered blind. She was born prematurely on November 4, 1966 and was rushed from the town’s Haig Maternity home to an incubator in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, however, this resulted in ‘oxygen blindness’ caused by too much oxygen.
She returned to Edinburgh at the age of four to attend the Royal Blind School, where she remained until she was aged 18. Blindness affects mobility and, with a lack of mobility, Diane has put on weight which, in turn, resulted in ancillary health problems. Fortunately, she has an understanding employer in Scottish Borders Council, where she has worked in the social work department for the past 25 years.
Recently, she was gifted a guide dog called Marley from Guide Dogs for the Blind and this has made a huge difference to her mobility. With her ‘seeing dog’ she can walk around town independently. As a result, she is hoping to lose weight and then receive the surgery she needs for an illness. “I have gained confidence and a better quality of life combined with more mobility and a much loved friend,” she says.
Guide Dogs for the Blind receives no government funding, relying on charitable donations. Earlier this year, Diane’s father Norman Pender, a former councillor and Greens and Scotland rugby player, decided to hold a Western-themed barn dance to raise funds for the charity. He said: “It occurred to me that Diane has received her dog by way of previous charity donations. I thought if we could give something back, then perhaps another blind person could also benefit from receiving a guide dog in the future.”
Another fund-raiser is planned for later this year, with an old-fashioned dinner and dance scheduled at Mansfield Park’s function hall on December 1. Norman says: “If there is enough support for it, we will go ahead and tickets for this will become available after support is confirmed. Companies or groups of friends are invited to book tables for 6, 8, or 10 people, and others can just come along as a couple. We have a great dance band booked and I am sure it will be a very enjoyable, fun evening.”
Anyone who wishes to book tickets, contribute to the raffle or make a donation is advised to call Norman on 373 640 or email email@example.com