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Bexleyheath shoppers raise £3,000 for guide dog charity

PUBLISHED: 13:07 23 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:09 23 December 2014

Guide dog owner Johnny Mathews and his dog Nessie with puppy walkers Cyndy and Trevor Rogers and Eden the puppy guide dog at The Broadway Shopping Centre. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Guide dog owner Johnny Mathews and his dog Nessie with puppy walkers Cyndy and Trevor Rogers and Eden the puppy guide dog at The Broadway Shopping Centre. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

A man who suffers from a degenerative eye disease is thanking the shoppers who raised £3,000 in just three days.

Johnny Matthews is registered blind and was given a canine companion from Guide Dogs.

The charity set up a stall in Broadway Shopping Centre selling stuffed toys, calenders, cards and wrapping paper.

The 63-year-old took his black Labrador Nessie along to the Broadway Shopping Centre to show their thanks.

He said: “The Broadway and the shoppers themselves really do deserve the thanks.

“It costs about £50,000 to maintain a guide dog for its lifetime so raising this kind of money goes a long way to help with that.”

Speaking about the charity, he added: “I can’t praise them enough. Nessie is extremely important to me for my independence.

“I have a great family and a lot of support from my wife and three sons, but having a guide dog gives me the confidence to go out on my own.”

Debbie Marchese, from the charity, said: “It went really well this year and we raised even more than normal.

“We’ve been coming down to the Broadway every year for about 12 or even 15 years now and it’s lovely.

“We’re quite established there so people look out for us and we have regulars who come back every year to support us. People are always very generous.

“The Broadway Shopping Centre is really kind in allowing us to do this annually and they reserve our spot for us each time. It’s our big event of the year and we always look forward to going.”

Peter Sedge, Manager of Broadway Shopping Centre, said: “I’m delighted that the Guide Dogs stall went so well this year. It is always a pleasure to have them here and everyone looks forward to their visit with the dogs and puppies.”

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