Blue Peter: A history with guide dogs

Blue Peter: A history with guide dogs
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As children, one of our favourite things about Blue Peter was its array of incredible animals, letting us all share in the joy of owning a pet, even if our parents wouldn’t get us a real one! And it was wonderful when the programme joined forces with Guide Dogs, showing us all the great work they do.

In 1965, we watched as Honey progressed through her guide dog training. By the 1980s, it was presenter Simon Groom and his dog Goldie that had us hooked, especially when she gave birth to two litters of gorgeous guide dog pups, including daughter Bonnie. Former Blue Peter presenterJanet Ellis remembers some happy times: “I did a lot with Bonnie throughout her training, taking her on obstacle courses, which were great fun and so insightful. Blue Peter has such an affinity with Guide Dogs.”

Goldie was one of the most famous dogs in the country, so imagine Guide Dogs’ surprise when 27 years later they received a letter from Diana Wyndham-Smith. Diana had cared for Goldie and her pups and wrote to the charity to share her memories and reasons for leaving a gift to them in her Will.

Having been a Puppy Walker since 1966, Diana went on to become a Brood Bitch Holder, meaning she took a guide dog mum into her home and cared for her. It’s a huge responsibility – assisting with the birth, and caring for the newborns round the clock until they go off to join their Puppy Walkers.

Diana and her husband Noel had safely cared for more than 35 puppies when they were asked to look after Goldie at the time of her pregnancy. Although it was a huge honour, Diana admits the role had its challenges: “The production team and photographers visited our home seven times in ten days. We never knew what was going to happen next!” she laughs. Diana even took the pups and their mum into London, caring for the lively litter in the TV studio. At eight weeks old, the pups went off to their Puppy Walkers, with each one eventually going on to become successful guide dogs.

After a lifetime of fulfilling volunteer work, Diana decided to leave Guide Dogs a gift in her Will, completing a legacy of love for the dogs and the people whose lives they change. By leaving a gift in your Will to Guide Dogs you can ensure that these wonderful dogs go on changing their owners’ lives. The Guide Dogs team can answer any questions you have – give them a call on 0845 603 1477 or visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/giftsinwills

What are your memories of the Blue Peter dogs? Email us with your memories

You can still donate to the Yours guide dog puppy appeal

ONLINE: Yours Puppy donation
CALL: 0870 240 6993 (quoting the reference ‘Yours Puppy’)
TEXT: YOURS to 70020 to give £3*
POST: Freepost Plus RTCG-GHHH-YBUG, Yours Puppy, Guide Dogs, Hillfields, Reading Road, Burghfield Common, Reading, RG7 3YG. Make your cheque payable to ‘Guide Dogs’ and write ‘Yours puppy’ on the back.

Don’t forget to include your name and address so Guide Dogs can send you a big thank-you!

*You will be charged £3 plus one message at your standard rate. The appeal will receive 99-100 percent of your donation, depending on your provider.  By using this service you agree that Guide Dogs may call you in the future. If you’d rather they didn’t, please text NOTHANKS to 83310, UK mobiles only