PUPPY walkers are needed in Marlborough to help train guide dogs for the blind.

There are currently no volunteer guide dog walkers in the town but Alan Fletcher, chairman of Swindon Guide Dogs for the Blind, is hoping to change that.

Walkers would be given puppies aged between six and eight weeks and would look after them until they were up to 14 months old.

Volunteers would teach them how to socialise and use public transport under the guidance of a puppy walking supervisor.

The puppy would then be taken for more intensive training before they were paired with a blind or partially sighted person.

Mr Fletcher, who has a guide dog called Nutmeg, said: “We’re trying to get more guide dogs so that we can reduce the waiting list, which means that we need more puppy walkers.

“For me the puppy walkers are the most important part of training. It is the puppy walker that first teaches them to use trains and buses and socialise like a normal dog, which means that I have a great guide dog.

“Having Nutmeg and my first guide dog, Joy, has completely changed my life.”

Anyone interested in looking after a puppy will need to have a secure garden and cannot leave the dog alone for longer than three hours. The cost of food and vets bills would be covered.

Mr Fletcher is also hoping to set up a guide dog support group in Marlborough to help with fundraising, operating under the umbrella of the Swindon Guide Dogs.

For more information or to volunteer for either project, call (01793) 827589 or email fletcas@sky.com