CAREW WI members turned out in force to listen to Mrs Eva Rich. President Edith warmly welcomed Eva, her guide dog Nancy, and Sheila, member of the fundraising team in Pembrokeshire. 

Eva has lived with sight loss since infancy. She learned to read braille at an early age and worked for 30 years as a shorthand typist. Using her braille hymn book is key to Eva enjoying Sunday worship and her rich soprano voice has entertained many over the years. Eva mentioned useful items she has in her home, such as a talking microwave and air fryer. Talking books and the AD option on her TV enhance Eva’s entertainment options. 

Since receiving her first guide dog in the Sixties, Nancy is number 7. For the first six months, Nancy lived with a family who house trained her and introduced her to coping with daily life in general. Nancy then undertook a period of intensive training before Eva took her into her household. When she is harnessed, Nancy becomes a working dog and takes Eva wherever she wants to go. She reverts to being Eva’s pet companion when in the home. Nancy allows Eva to live as full a life as is possible; sighted people cannot imagine relying solely on a guide dog to navigate the many obstacles when walking around a town or village.

The cost of training guide dogs is huge and the charity relies solely on donations and fund raising with no other financial input. Eva is a tireless fundraiser and has been honoured publicly for the contribution she makes to the charity. Members’ donations amounted to £157.30 that afternoon. 

After Bronwen K had thanked Eva for sharing her life story with the members who then took tea with her and chatted informally about her work, members held a business meeting. 

President Edith warmly welcomed Chair of PFWI Membership Committee Ms Kathryn Wilkins who joined members for the afternoon. She offered the guiding hand of friendship to members and recommended her team’s expertise if ever it was needed. The March minutes were read, sanctioned and signed before members turned their attention to deciding the venue for the June trip. The County Newsletter was discussed. The Rose Bowl entry for the County Show is progressing and Marnie will lead the instillation team on the day. Happy Birthday wishes were extended to Liz, Marnie, Marilyn and Susan and Rosemary won the raffle prize.