Why these Leeds city centre landmarks will be lit up 'labrador yellow' and blue today

A series of landmark buildings across Leeds city centre will be light up 'labrador yellow' and blue today.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 9:28 am
First Direct Arena will be lit up 'labrador yellow' and blue.

Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Museum and the city's First Direct Arena will all be changing colour to mark Guide Dogs’ 90th anniversary, celebrating decades of supporting the visually impaired community of Yorkshire.

Dubbed ‘labrador yellow’, one of Guide Dogs’ official brand colours, the lighting up of the historic gems aims to raise awareness of the charity’s milestone – 90 years since the first ever guide dog partnership.

This month marks 90 years since the first guide dog partnerships were formed by pioneering women Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond. These remarkable women started training dogs to support servicemen who had lost their sight in WW1. The impact was immediate.

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Leeds City Museum will be lit up 'labrador yellow' and blue.

Today, Guide Dogs leads the world in breeding and training working dogs, creating unique and carefully matched partnerships that provide life changing support. Guide Dogs is working to give more people with sight loss the confidence and skills they need to live the life they choose - people like Natasha Mitchell, from Kirklees, who was diagnosed with acute closed angle glaucoma over 10 years ago after a rare side effect caused by medication.

Natasha said: “Guide Dogs matched me with Tooty, my amazing guide dog, in 2018. She has changed my life so much for the better. She’s amazing - she’s given me my independence and confidence in mobility outdoors back. She keeps me safe on our walks to the gym together. On my bad days she won’t leave my side – she’s absolutely my best friend.

“I have lost a lot, but I’ve also gained a lot too thanks to Guide Dogs.”

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There are over 200 active guide dog partnerships led by the charity's Leeds community team, based in Headingley, who also support the Sheffield community. With an estimated 68,000 people in West Yorkshire alone living with sight loss, it’s expected this number will increase by 16 per cent by 2030.

Louise Belsom, deputy director of Operations for Guide Dogs in the North East, said: “Since 1931, we’ve been there for people with sight loss and those around them.

“We’ve been supporting the community in Leeds for over two decades. With new services, new technologies and our amazing staff, volunteers, dogs and supporters, we will be there for the next 90.

“A huge thank you to Leeds City Council for making this happen and helping to raise awareness of the work that we do.”

Leeds city buildings join a number of recognisable landmarks across the country lighting up for Guide Dogs, including the Blackpool Tower, the Millennium Bridge and Meadowhall Shopping Centre.

Guide Dogs is also a charity partner of this year’s Leeds Light Night and is sponsoring the ‘Neon Dogs’ light installation in the Millennium Square Zone.

For more information on Guide Dogs’ 90th celebrations and how you can support them, visit: guidedogs.org.uk/guide-dogs-appeal/ .

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