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Mayor inspired to review street obstacles after blindfolded walk

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley undertaking a blindfold walk The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley undertaking a blindfold walk

THE Mayor of Ripon said he has been inspired to help people with limited sight after walking through the city’s streets blindfolded.

Councillor Mick Stanley said the experience of being led from Ripon Cathedral to the town hall by trainee guide dog Simba had highlighted the vulnerability of blind and partially sighted people as they go about their daily routine.

After negotiating scaffolding in Kirkgate, uneven pavements and kerbs, advertising signs and tubs of flowers, he said he was determined not only to help the charity, but also would review obstacles blind people face in the city.

Coun Stanley said: “It was a unique experience. It was relatively easy to trust Simba, but without him I would have been totally lost.

“Sight is the sense that I would find very hard to do without and it does bring it home how important it is to have flat surfaces.”

Guide Dogs, formerly known as Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, had invited Coun Stanley to undertake the walk as part of a drive to recruit volunteers to help the charity train dogs, fundraise and campaign on issues ranging from pavement parking to the rise in attacks on guide dogs.

A charity spokeswoman said: “Negotiating all the street clutter on the pavements nowadays is bad enough for a sighted person, but especially so if you have only limited vision or no vision at all.

“We hope the walk will serve as a reminder to everyone to think about blind or partially sighted people when they put out advertising signs and other street furniture."

For details of the charity, visit guidedogs.org.uk or contact the Guide Dogs Mobility Centre on 0845-372-7418.

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