The Great Barford Drive
On 22nd August 2006 at 6:30 pm, Martine Brooks, a blind woman from St Neots, drove the length of the new Great Barford Bypass in Bedfordshire in a Renault Clio, in support of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
She reached speeds of up to 65mph down the new bypass, driving from the Black Cat Roundabout on the A1, to Water End Junction (Bedford), performed a flawless three point turn, and drove back to the A1. "It was all over so quickly" she said after the 8 mile drive - this was the first time she had driven this car at over 15mph, as her usual practice car was a much larger Citroen Xsara.
The Martine Brooks Great Barford Challenge is still accepting donations, and has some way to go to meet the target for this very worthy cause. We are over half-way there, and still need your support.
At any one time the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association supports about 5,000 guide dogs in the UK.
Every year they breed over 1,000 guide dog puppies, some of which go on to become brood bitches and stud dogs.
It costs the Association around £10 per day (raised through voluntary donations) to breed, train and care for each guide dog.
The working life of a guide dog is about seven years and many guide dog owners have several dogs during their lifetime.
This year, GDBA are celebrating their 75th anniversary.
Martine and her driving instructor, Steve, have developed a method of communication, whereby Steve can tell Martine how fast to go, and how much to turn, and Martine drives the car, estimating the speed from the selected gear, and the sound of the engine.
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Martine has been a guide dog owner for 25 years and has owned four guide dogs. She has done many events in the past to help raise funds for Guide Dogs, including a parachute jump in 1987, and a walk around Rutland Water in 2004.
Gable is a nine year old flat coat retriever. He has been with Martine since he was 19 months old. He loves his work and the fuss he gets whenever Martine is out and about.
Steve is an aerospace engineer who enjoys paragliding and as a consequence likes to take his life into his own hands and which is why he talked Martine into learning to drive and taking up this challenge.
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