Deaf cyclists ride for hearing dog charity

Andie Vowles, Sam Russell, Mel Clapham, Julie Tomkinson, Jonathan Swift and Ember (hearing dog) at Lancaster Castle
Andie Vowles, Sam Russell, Mel Clapham, Julie Tomkinson, Jonathan Swift and Ember (hearing dog) at Lancaster Castle

A pair of Fylde coast cyclists geared up for a 35-mile bike ride to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the charity that has enriched their lives.

Andie Vowles, 45, from Blackpool, and Sam Russell, 16, from Lytham, were two of a team of deaf people who took on the 35-mile journey from Lancaster Castle to Lytham Windmill at the weekend to raise money for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Andie, who works for the charity, said: “A hearing dog will make a change to a deaf person’s life by giving them a companionship, independence and confidence.

“The hearing dog will have been trained to alert sounds in the home such as doorbell, telephone, smoke alarm and alarm clock. Also while out in the public the hearing dog will have its uniform on and this would then show the public that it’s a working dog and the person is deaf or hard of hearing.

“I want to support my work as much as I can as they have done incredible work for the dogs and they don’t get any government money, and only rely on raising funds from the community.”

The team raised nearly £500 to go towards funding the training of a new hearing dog. It costs approximately £40,000 to train just one hearing dog, and there are only two hearing dogs living on the Fylde coast today.

Andie said: “The ride went really well as planned; the weather forecast was perfect.

“On arriving at the finish line we were greeted by a wonderful small group of supporters who were our friends and families.”