Fundraising: Me and my charity - Dave Heeley

Dave Heeley lives in West Bromwich and was born with a disease that made him progressively blind. He got his first dog through Guide Dogs for the Blind nine years ago and has since become a keen supporter.

Why did you choose Guide Dogs? I have been a registered blind person since 1996 and it took me a few years to accept it. Because I did not really want to learn how to use my stick, accidents happened. But then I came across Guide Dogs, which gave me my first dog, and my life has been really easy since.

Having a dog gives you a different outlook on life. I owe the charity a lot. I am also very impressed with its work; the back-up service it offers is amazing. I would convince everyone I can to give money to the charity. If you have a problem, there is always somebody at your local centre to help.

What do you do to support them? I have run three London Marathons with a sighted companion. I raised £9,000 this year, and I am doing my fourth Great North Run this year. I also took part in the Bath half-Marathon last month. I go to schools and companies where I represent the charity.

I am well known in my local community too. People call me 'blind Dave'.

Each year, I organise a small concert and a raffle. We invite friends and people from the neighbourhood. We raised £9,018 last March. It is getting bigger and bigger.

The first concert held 100 people - now I have to find a space for 350 people! Over nine years I have raised £83,000.

How much time do you give? I dedicate a lot of my time to Guide Dogs.

I do not work at the moment. I wanted to set up a craft shop some time ago and contacted New Deal for the Disabled, a government service that helps disabled people get into employment. I did a business plan but they told me they could not help, and that the only thing they could do was to offer me a pair of boots. It is a shame because they say they are there to help and when you actually need it they don't do anything.

Do you support other charities? No. I have chosen Guide Dogs; it is my charity. I could never thank them enough.

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