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Blind woman in charity challenge

PUBLISHED: 18:11 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:10 25 August 2010

ALONE: Yen Thou had to leave her trusted

ALONE: Yen Thou had to leave her trusted

A BLIND woman left her guide dog at home as she embarked on a five-day 120-mile trek for charity.

A BLIND woman left her guide dog at home as she embarked on a five-day 120-mile trek for charity.

Fundraiser Yen Thou, 29, from Bexleyheath, left her trusted friend Jazz at home as she hit the Thames towpath, on Monday for the trek which is due to finish this Saturday.

Miss Thou, a member of London Blind Ramblers, is aiming to walk 20 miles a day in a bid to raise money to sponsor a guide dog.

She wants to raise £5,000 which will enable her to name a guide dog puppy after her partially-sighted friend James Hayton, 32, who died suddenly last year.

Speaking to the Times before the trek she said: "I've been busy training hard and my friends have been coming on walks with me. I've been doing lots of work at the gym and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I'll miss Jazz, but I know I'll have lots of support and help along the way, as well as knowing my fundraising will help others to experience the freedom of owning a guide dog."

The sports enthusiast, who started going blind at the age of six, leaves Jazz, her first guide dog, behind when she goes running with friends.

But she does rely on her guide of four years when she goes on long walks.

She said: "Before Jazz I used to rely on a cane and a guide dog is so much better.

"James used to be my flatmate and I have known him for about 10 years. He was friendly and he would always dog sit for me as I was always out and about and you can't always take a guide dog with you to certain places."

On the trek, she has been relying on sighted guiding assistance from the Metropolitan Ramblers as well as members of Guide Dogs' branches along the walk.

The walk, which began in Bexleyheath, will take in Putney, Sunbury, Bourne End, Reading, Wallingford, and end in Oxford.

n To sponsor Miss Thou visit www.justgiving. com/guidedogstribute

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