7 year old to cycle 90km for Guide Dogs charity

Weston girl to cycle 90km for Guide Dogs charity

Esmae is raising money for the charity's 90th anniversary. - Credit: Amy Collins

A seven-year-old from Weston has pledged to walk, run and cycle 90 kilometres during October for the Guide Dogs Charity

Esmae Watts originally wanted to raise £90 for the charity's 90th birthday, but quickly surpassed that amount.

Her mum told the Mercury that until recently, Esmae had been scared of dogs until she met a guide dog.

A seven-year-old from Weston has pledged to walk, run and cycle 90 kilometres during October for the Guide Dogs Charity

Esmae and her brother, Rupert, 2, who has helped her along the way. - Credit: Amy Collins

Amy Collins said: "When Esmae was a toddler she developed a fear of dogs out of the blue. We were shopping in Sainsbury's one day and there was a guide dogs fundraiser in the foyer.

“A lovely volunteer spent some time with Esmae and explained to her what guide dogs do and introduced her to a retired guide dog. The rest is history.

"Since then, she’s always had a passion for guide dogs and what the charity does.”

"She does a lot of charity work and she decided to do this on her own, I am so proud of her."

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So far, Esmae has completed 66km of her 90km pledge alongside family and friends.

A seven-year-old from Weston has pledged to walk, run and cycle 90 kilometres during October for the Guide Dogs Charity

Esmae and her dad, Damien, completing part of her 90km journey. - Credit: Amy Collins

Ms Collins added: "At the end of October when she has completed the challenge, we are going to have a guide dogs themed tea party and take some photos to make thank you cards for people that have helped Esmae to reach her fundraising goal."

A spokesman for the charity has said that it is 'hugely grateful' for Esmae's contribution after a year of Covid-induced difficulties.

They told the Mercury: "We are very impressed by Esmae taking on this challenge at such a young age - we are hugely grateful.

"Like all charities, in 2020 we were thrown a huge curveball.

"Social distancing requirements made it difficult for us to deliver some of our core services, and we had to temporarily pause breeding and training of our guide dogs.

"However, we adapted and found new ways to support people — such as improved online and telephone support. Thanks to the generosity of the public we are in a stable position now and we’re back to matching and training people with guide dogs."

So far Esmae has raised more than £170, to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amy-collins22

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