Guide dogs sniff out sensory garden

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Myra Brown & Royal the dog

A Lanarkshire woman has secured funds to create a ‘sensory garden’ for visitors to a Guide Dogs Training School in Forfar.

Sensory gardens are designed to heighten awareness and senses, with features such as scented and edible plants.

They can have a beneficial effect on well being and also provide a stimulating journey, thanks to the textures and materials used to guide visitors with a visual impairment.

Myra Brown, 48,a ScotRail station staff member at Lanark Station, is behind the scheme to raise even more funds for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

She applied to parent company First Group for a donation – and was awarded £780 towards the purchase of plants and features that will make the garden in Forfar extra special.

Myra, who lives in Lesmahagow, got involved with the charity after her husband David spotted an advert in their local paper looking for ‘puppy walkers’.

She said: “I’ve been a regular volunteer with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, along with my husband, for a number of years and I’m delighted with this donation from FirstGroup.”

Myra added: “We’ve been planning the sensory garden for ages and can’t wait to get started.”

The garden will also have a “Guide Dogs Wall of Support” – a new initiative to raise funds.

People will be able to sponsor individual bricks for the wall, with proceeds going to helping blind and partially sighted people live full and independent lives.

Once all of the bricks have been bought, the wall will be built free of charge by students from Carnegie College in Fife.

Julie Millar, a member of Guide Dog’s Scottish fundraising team, said: “We are so grateful to Myra for applying for the donation and to FirstGroup for recognising the merits of building the sensory garden at our Dog Training School.

“Without the support of fantastic volunteers like Myra and David, we simply couldn’t do what we do. We rely entirely on the generosity of the public to provide a service that makes a massive difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people.”

Avril Gill, FirstGroup‘s marketing manager, Group Brand, said: “We are often on the look out for opportunities to help worthy organisations like this one and are delighted to help create this sensory garden.”

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