Irresponsible pavement parkers nearly forced me to give up my guide dog, says partially-sighted man

Simon Daws, from Woodbridge, nearly gave up his first guide dog Lennox due to irresponsible pavement

Simon Daws, from Woodbridge, nearly gave up his first guide dog Lennox due to irresponsible pavement parking. Picture: SIMON DAWS - Credit: Archant

A partially-sighted man from Woodbridge has revealed how he nearly gave up his guide dog - because he was so scared of obstacles on the pavement forcing him into the road.

Simon Daws suffers from Retinis pigmentosa, leaving him with sight loss.

He was first partnered with guide dog Lennox in November 2011.

Yet just weeks after getting his freedom, the 48-year-old considered giving up his canine helper when he suffered daily knocks and obstacles while walking on pavements.

Mr Daws said: “When you qualify with your first guide dog, you get that flush of euphoria at the thought of regaining your freedom and independence.”

But as Christmas approached, the parking situation worsened and Lennox began to struggle to guide Mr Daws safely.

“Vehicles were parked all around my local streets, blocking routes for myself and Lennox,” he said.

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“The only other option was to walk in the road around the parked vehicle, which made me feel extremely anxious.

“Where larger vehicles were parked on pavements, I would hit my head on wing mirrors, which was painful.

“I felt so anxious, I even got to the point where I felt like giving my guide dog back, something which I didn’t want to do.”

Being forced out into the road, into traffic he couldn’t see, was a horrible experience for Mr Daws and he resolved to do something about the situation in his area.

With the help of his son, he approached police and worked towards improving the situation around his home in Woodbridge.

Now, supported by his second guide dog Lemar, he continues to campaign for responsible pavement parking.

However, according to Mr Daws the issues have increased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as home deliveries become more popular and more people being home.

Mr Daws added: “With more electric vehicles on the road in the future, this will make the problem even more dangerous, as they can be hard to hear approaching.

“I understand there are times where cars have to park on pavements, but it’s about being responsible and allowing enough room for pedestrians wherever possible.”