April 5, 2023 2.00 pm This story is over 14 months old

Lincoln girl’s mountain climb after caring for guide dog puppy

Each guide dog costs thousands to train

A 10-year-old girl from Lincoln was so inspired by caring for a guide dog pup that she climbed Mount Snowdon to raise over £1,000 for charity.

Phoebe Willis climbed the highest mountain in Wales on April 4 with support from her father Jez.

Phoebe and her family volunteer as Puppy Raisers for Guide Dogs and are currently looking after an eleven-month-old puppy called Becci, who is a black Labrador.

Becci was too young to complete the climb with Phoebe, so the Lincoln girl took a toy guide dog puppy to the summit instead.

She said: “It took us four hours to walk up the mountain and two and a half hours to walk down, so six and a half hours in total.

“Thank you to everyone who sponsored me. I was so excited to do this for Guide Dogs and of course, our guide dog puppy Becci.”

Phoebe with her guide dog puppy Becci.

The money raised will go to national charity Guide Dogs, which helps the two millions people in the UK living with sight loss to live the life they choose – donations can still be made to Phoebe’s fundraiser here.

Phoebe and guide dog puppy Becci also share the same birthday. On April 18 Phoebe will be 11 and Becci will turn one.

Becci will leave the family in a couple of months to start her formal guide dog training. Most dogs qualify as working guide dogs by the age of two.

Phoebe at the summit of Mount Snowdon with a toy guide dog puppy.

Amy Willis, Phoebe’s mum, said: “We are super proud of Phoebe, especially as doing this challenge was all her idea and she was determined to do it.

“She was completely inspired by having Becci at home with us and is fascinated by everything to do with Guide Dogs.

“Looking after Becci has been a real learning process for her. Having learnt that each guide dog costs £55,000, she thought what can she do as a 10-year old to help with that.”

Phoebe left her mum Amy a note before embarking on her charity challenge.

Nichola Bonsall, Community Fundraising Relationship Manager for Guide Dogs in Lincoln, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to Phoebe for climbing Mt Snowdon and raising funds for us here at Guide Dogs.

“It costs around £55,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement and, as a charity, we rely almost entirely on public donations to keep our life-changing services running.

“Phoebe’s donation will help make a real difference to people in the UK living with sight loss.”

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