Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School pupils had a special visit from Shadow the Guide Dog and his owner, Gwyn to learn about trust.

Schoolchildren have been learning about who or what people place their trust, which is the school’s value for the month.

Mark Calvin, area organiser for The Guide Dogs for the Blind charity, and Welshpool-based Gwyn Davies, who’s registered blind, discussed their experiences of trust at a school assembly.

Mark said: “To see a real-life guide dog is important to help engage early years. Guide dogs are a 24-hours-a-day companion and are never replaceable. 

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Welshpool Church in Wales Primary School (Howell Drive) welcomed Shadow, his owner Gwyn Davies and Mark Calvin.

“We explained to the children that if they see a guide dog wearing a harness, they must leave them alone because they are in ‘working-mode’. To avoid upset, you must always ask permission from the owner to pat the dog. Once the harness comes off, the guide dog is like any other dog. They’re incredible animals.

“The children got to play with Shadow and asked fantastic questions. Gwyn dealt with them brilliantly. The children were very curious and would ask questions only children would ever dream of thinking.

“The visit was brilliant and I can’t praise the school high enough. The children were immaculately behaved and are a credit to the school.

Nine-year-old Summer said: “It was amazing to meet Mark, Gwyn and Shadow. I didn’t know much about guide dogs before, but Mark and Gwyn taught us lots about them.”

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Harley, eight, said: “It was a good visit because it showed how hard guide dogs work and how special they are to their owner”.

Teacher Wendi Terry said it was a family member’s experiences which inspired the visit: “When planning our whole school assembly, I thought of my aunt who is blind and regularly places her trust in her fourth guide dog, Tara. My aunt sent pictures of her working with Tara and we were very lucky to have Mark, a volunteer with the Guide Dogs, and Gwyn with his guide dog Shadow, visit us for the assembly to discuss their experiences of trust.

“The children were fascinated to hear what Mark and Gwyn had to say and thoroughly enjoyed meeting Shadow. They learnt how, through placing trust in their guide dogs, my aunt and Gwyn had both been able to gain more independence and how this had enriched their lives. They also found out how the donation from the school would help support the vital work of the Guide Dogs further. 

“It was a fantastic morning that everyone enjoyed, including Shadow, his tail never stopped wagging!”

“What is it like to be blind?” - Henry, eight.

“It is very hard. But there is one good thing. You get to have a lovely guide dog like Shadow.” - Gwyn Davies

“How much does it cost to have a guide dog?” - Grace, eight.

"It costs 50p for the owner to have the dog. Then The Guide Dog Trust help to keep the dog. It costs £56,000 from birth to retirement.” - Mark Calvin