Voice winner Andrea launches guide dog campaign


Shelley Marsden

THE winner of The Voice, Andrea Begley, has lit up the London Eye in neon yellow to launch Guide Dogs Week (October 5-13).

The 27 year old from Northern Ireland, who is partially sighted herself, was joined last Thursday by an entourage of guide dog puppies-in-training who had just taken part in a luminous night walk along London’s Embankment.

The aim of the new campaign is to highlight the difficulties faced by people who are blind or partially sighted trying to live full and independent lives. The charity is asking people to show support by “standing out” in high-visibility yellow, the colour of the iconic guide dog harness.

The lighting up of the London Eye also marked the start of the campaign’s headline event, The Four Legs Tour, a series of nationwide events where a group of people with sight loss and their guide dogs (dubbed Team GD) will celebrate the freedom that having a guide dog brings, as well as exposing  the daily difficulties faced by visually impaired people when getting out and about.

Over the next 30 days, they will navigate some of the busiest and most iconic of Britain’s venues, chronicling their experience as they go. The public can follow the journey and donate via a live feed online or on mobile at www.guidedogs.org.uk/gdweek2013.

Richard Leaman, CEO of Guide Dogs, said: “Nearly two million people in Britain are living with sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives, and Guide Dogs is here to help them to get out and about, and to enjoy the quality of life they want, and deserve.”

The tour returns to London during Guide Dogs Week when a neon-yellow fashion show will take place on the Millennium Bridge, and a Canine Catwalk will bring visually impaired and sighted models together.

The singer has also announced that she will be releasing her debut album, The Message,on October 21.

She has been working with her coach, The Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue on the album, and her former mentor has produced its title track.

She said: “He has always believed in me and in my songs and it was a total honour and privilege for him to produce one of my own songs for the album. I couldn’t stop smiling while I stood in the studio with him working on the track. I count myself a very lucky person.”


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