Over £4,000 raised for Guide Dogs branch in memory of Rachel Downey

The Maiden City branch of Guide Dogs NI has extended their appreciation to the Downey family, who raised over £4,000 for the charity in memory of their late daughter Rachel.

Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 10:02 am
Reggie and Grace Downey pictured handing over a cheque for £4,270.00, proceeds from a sponsored cycle from Londonderry to Donegal Town by Masonic Lodge members from the North West, in memory of their daughter Rachel, to Norman Lyttle, Chairman of the Maiden City Branch of Guide Dogs NI, one of the charities that Rachel volunteered for. Included are, from left, front row, Nigel Anderson, volunteer, Tim Atkinson, Mobility Instructor, Guide Dogs NI, and Pamela Lyttle, Secretary of the Maiden City Branch, and guide dogs Voss and Bertie, back row, Noel Drain, Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Lodge of Freemasons Londonderry and Donegal, Stuart McCarter, Raymond Robinson, Colin McCandless and John Cairns. DER4518-101KM

Rachel Downey was a member of the local branch of the guide dogs group and passed away suddenly in March 2016, aged just 27.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ group treasurer and secretary Pamela Lyttle said the money was raised by Rachel’s father Reggie, through a sponsored cycle.

“Reggie asked if there was anything he could do to help with guide dogs. He does a lot of cycling, so he decided to do a sponsored bike ride from the Masonic Hall, to Donegal Town and back again! They raised £4,270 for Guide Dogs.” she said.

Rachel’s parents Reggie and Grace also presented the local branch of Guide Dogs NI with a perpetual memorial cup for the best young fundraiser of the year in Rachel’s name.

“Rachel was the first one at our meetings. If we were doing a street collection she was the first one there, and the last one to leave. She loved guide dogs. My husband Norman is the chairman of the Maiden City branch. She absolutely loved his guide dog Bertie.

“It was so sad, and so expected that we lost Rachel. We only had a meeting a few days before hand when we got the news. Everybody that knew Rachel loved Rachel. She was that kind of person. She was so special. “She was so well known and well loved, and did an awful lot of work for Guide Dogs NI. We miss her dearly,” she added. Guide Dogs have also dedicated a space on the memorial path at their National Breeding centre in Birmingham in Rachel’s memory.

“It’s their way of saying thank you for the work that she did, and for what her parents did for Guide Dogs as well. We still miss her so much, she was part of the Guide Dog family,” she said.