THE MP for Southend West has mentioned a Westcliff constituent’s guide dog in Westminster.
Jagger, the much-loved guide-dog of campaigner Jill Allen-King OBE, has been praised in the House of Commons by Anna Firth.
Jagger is reaching the stage when he will be forced to retire, which would leave Allen-King, who was awarded the ‘Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award’, without a guide-dog for the first time in 51 years.
There is currently an average waiting time of over a year for blind people to receive a new guide dog. Some reports suggest that there are now thousands of people waiting to be paired with a new companion.
In a letter to Anna Firth MP, well know charity Guide Dogs have confirmed that Jill’s guide dog, Jagger, will almost certainly be retired on the June 1.
The letter also confirmed that Guide Dogs: “cannot provide a definitive timeframe for a new partnership.”
Raising Jagger’s plight in the House of Commons the Southend West MP called on the Government to improve access to guide dogs.
Ms Firth said: “Jill is an absolute inspiration to people across the country and one of our absolute Community Champions here in Southend.
“She has been a dogged campaigner for improving the lives of blind and partially-sighted people for her the last half-century.
“Jagger, Jill’s beloved companion, is being forced to retire, but Guide Dogs are not able to provide her with a replacement, leaving her without the vital support she has had for more than 50 years.
“Frankly, it is not acceptable that she could be without a guide dog for more than a year, and that is why I have been campaigning so hard for Jagger to get a reprieve, until Jill receives a new guide dog.
“I was delighted that Penny (Mordaunt) praised Jill and Jagger in the Commons, and I am very grateful for her support in my campaign to get Jill the support she deserves.”
Former candidate for Prime Minister, Penny Mordaunt, joined Mrs Firth in praising the work of Jill Allen-King and Jagger.
Ms Mordaunt said: “I know that she and her constituent recently met the Prime Minister, along with her constituent’s companion Jagger, who I understand reluctantly faces retirement shortly.
“My hon. Friend is right that we want to increase access to that vital means for people to go about and achieve their ambitions in life.”
Picture: Jill Allen King meets PM Rishi Sunak.
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