A BLIND man from Abertillery has completed his most daring challenge yet to raise money for Guide Dogs Cymru.

Jon Nixey, who lost his sight more than 30 years ago, is normally accompanied by yellow Labrador Sophie, his fifth guide dog.

South Wales Argus:

But the challenge saw him put on a furry dog suit and walk unaided from the top end of Alma Street and across the foundry bridge, arriving at the town’s Iceland store 35 minutes later.

South Wales Argus:

His son, Paul, walked a few feet away to make sure no accidents occurred.

The challenge, which raised £330 for Guide Dogs Cymru, was the second in a series of events to celebrate the confidence and freedom a guide dog brings.

Mr Nixey said: “I’ve themed each event around the names of my five guide dogs.

“This one is in honour of my second dog Isaac, who brought me independence.”


Mr Nixey was joined along the route by Councillor Gill Clark, Chair of Abertillery and Llanhilleth Community Council, who wore a blindfold and used a long cane to walk alongside him.

Cllr Clark said: “When I put the mask on initially I did feel a little nervous and disorientated, but Jon was very welcoming and his son was obviously a professional at guiding people with no sight, so I felt safe.

“The walk seemed to go on forever and it was frustrating not being able to see who was around – I’m nosey.

"The street furniture was not user-friendly, and worst of all were the bins half way up the lampposts. My stick didn’t pick them up, even though I was warned they were there, and I hit every single one.

“I don't know if I would have the courage to go about my daily life if I lost my sight. I am in awe of the people that do.

"I often see Jon out and about with Sophie. He is doing a wonderful job of raising people’s awareness of what it is like to be blind.”

Jon’s next event will offer people of all ages the chance to experience life without sight when Guide Dogs Cymru brings its sensory tunnel to the council offices in Abertillery on Wednesday August 7 from 9am-1pm.