Kenilworth charity collector to have town's new guide dog named after her

From left: Margaret Kite, Jeremy Wright MP, and Guide Dog puppy walker Jane and current Kenilworth puppy Abbey
From left: Margaret Kite, Jeremy Wright MP, and Guide Dog puppy walker Jane and current Kenilworth puppy Abbey

A long-time Kenilworth charity collector had 'the shock of her life' when she was told the town's new guide dog will be named after her.

Margaret Kite, of Hermitage Way, thought she was going to a small party at Ego Restaurant in Warwick Road with some of the Kenilworth Guide Dogs volunteers on Friday January 19.

But the event was a lot bigger than she was expecting.

Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright was there to greet her, and made a speech informing her that Kenilworth's new guide dog will be called 'Kite' in her honour.

Margaret said: "I had the shock of my life. I didn't know anything about it - I was invited up there but I just thought it was an ordinary do.

"It was not until Jeremy Wright came out and we had a photograph taken that I realised something was different. I didn't know what to say.

"It was a big, big honour. I still can't believe it."

Margaret has been helping collect money for Kenilworth Guide Dogs since the charity reformed three years ago, and has also contributed to many other charities for several years, which earned her a British Empire Medal in 2017.

As a way of saying thank you, Kenilworth Guide Dogs Coordinator Sue Bowden helped organise the event and felt naming a guide dog after Margaret was a fitting gesture.

Sue said: "We felt she's helped us very much as a charity, and many others too.

"Everybody knows her - she's just such a lovely lady and she'll do anything to help.

"It was just a nice way to say thank you. It was a really nice morning and Jeremy Wright made a really nice speech."

After the event, Jeremy Wright MP said: "Kenilworth Guide Dogs do fantastic work to help to provide guide dogs for those who really benefit from their assistance.

"So many causes in Kenilworth benefit from Margaret Kite’s assistance and it was great to see Margaret deservedly honoured by having the next Kenilworth guide dog, Kite, named after her."

It costs around £10,000 to fully train a guide dog. Just over half this money has been raised so far for Kite's training, and Kenilworth Guide Dogs volunteers are hoping the rest of the money will be raised soon.

Kite will be selected from the charity's breeding programme once the money has been raised. Sue hoped Kite will be working with a blind person in Kenilworth in the autumn, although it could be some time after that.