IT WAS a sight to see for many – but not for the mayor of Fareham.
Councillor Susan Bayford volunteered to be blindfolded and led around Fareham town centre by a guide dog.
She was led from the Civic Offices in Civic Way through the shopping centre – where she bumped into a door frame – and on to West Street.
Cllr Bayford was blindfolded by employees of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and led by Taylor, a black Labrador and retriever cross.
She was taken around people, through doors and around corners with Joanne Nash, guide dogs mobility instructor, helping lead Taylor.
Cllr Bayford said: ‘My first few steps down the ramp towards the shopping centre were a bit unnerving because I had to put all my confidence in Taylor.
‘But I was more confident than I thought I’d be and there were few moments when I was nervous.
‘I didn’t notice when he was leading me around groups of people.
‘He did it seamlessly and I felt confident.
‘It did help having a team member for the charity on my left but it was an extraordinary experience.’
The charity contacted Cllr Bayford to help raise awareness and she was more than happy to take part.
She added: ‘I want to help raise awareness of the difficulties visually-impaired people face.
‘But I also wanted to highlight the good work that guide dogs do.
‘I have quite a keen interest in charities that help the blind so it was a good opportunity.’
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association team were happy to get the mayor of Fareham on board.
Kirsty Necker, engagement officer said: ‘It was great to walk around the town centre with the mayor giving an example of what it’s like to work with a guide dog when you are visually-impaired.
‘It gave the example of how difficult it is to negotiate around street furniture, cars parked on pavements and other obstacles in our daily lives that can get in the way.’
For more information on the charity visit guidedogs.org.uk.