Larne family’s puppy love buys three guide dogs for charity

A LARNE family’s quest to raise enough money to help buy a guide dog has been rewarded three times over.

In July, brothers Glenn and Ricky Mann, along with pals Aaron Wilson and Brian Galway set off on a bid to raise £5,000 during a remarkable 12-hour golf marathon.

They were sponsored to play one hole at 27 different courses on a single day and the final tally topped a whopping £15,458 – enough to buy three puppies suitable for guide dog training.

Last week, the Mann family came to face to face with one of the Golden Labradors. It was an emotional moment for their mum Carol, whose own guide dog, Nan, is her constant companion.

The pup, named after Carol, arrived with volunteer puppy walker Sandra Taggart, from Lisburn and made herself at home on a comfy rug.

It costs Guide Dogs for The Blind NI £50,000 to breed, train and look after a guide dog and at any one time there are 100 of them at work in homes all over the Province.

“And it’s worth every penny,” said Carol Mann.

Puppy Carol isn’t the only guide dog named after one of the Mann family. The others are called Glenn and Ray – the latter for Carol’s husband, who passed away earlier this year.

In Ron’s memory, the family is to embark on yet another fundraiser for the guide dogs charity. And once again it has a golfing theme.

“We’re going to play nine holes at Cairndhu while blindfolded,” said Glenn, who hopes the challenge will take place next August 17.

It will be a four-ball featuring Ricky, Glenn, mum Carol and, they hope, BBC sports presenter Stephen Watson, who is patron of the Northern Ireland Blind Golfers’ Association.

There’s a lot to organise, but hopefully it won’t be quite as frantic, or as exhausting, as the July quest for which Glenn, Ricky, Aaron and Brian played a hole at courses including Castlerock, Portstewart, Royal Portrush, Galgorm, Massereene, Greenacres, Greenisland and Whitehead, finally finishing up at Cairndhu.

“The 12-hour golf event took a lot of organising and was very tiring, but it was well worth it.

“That feeling was reinforced when we got to meet the first pup,” Glenn said.

“Hopefully the local community will get behind us like they did last time and help us raise another amazing sum of money.

“We never dreamed of reaching such a huge total, and I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the upcoming charity fundraiser can contact Glenn at glennmann@hotmail.co.uk