March - Guide dogs for the Blind

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (working name Guide Dogs) is a British charitable organisation founded in 1934.

 The Guide Dogs story actually started in 1931 with two amazing British pioneers, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond. These remarkable women organised the training of the first four British guide dogs from a humble lock up garage in Wallasey, Merseyside. Three years later the charity was formed. The number of working guide dogs has increased over the years and currently there are just over 4950 in the United Kingdom.

In 1956 Guide Dogs began to recruit volunteers to become puppy walkers. In 1960 a breeding programme was introduced and to this day Guide Dogs breed their own dogs. By 1970 these components of Guide Dogs’ work had grown so much they were given their own premises at Tollgate House, near Leamington Spa. The late Derek Freeman MBE was the most influential figure in the development of Guide Dogs’ puppy walking and breeding programmes. Guide Dogs are a world leader in the breeding and training of guide dogs and also a co-founder of the International Guide Dog Federation 

Guide Dogs mainly use Labradors, Golden Retrievers and crosses of these two breeds. They have a small number of other breeds that they use less frequently. Different breeds of dog have different characteristics which supports the differing needs of the many people training with guide dogs. For example, active dogs are matched with active clients, German Shepherds have a longer stride, which marry well with clients with long strides and larger dogs are used as stability aids for clients with mobility and balance difficulties. 

The full ‘lifetime cost’ of a guide dog from birth to retirement is around £53,000. As Guide Dogs do not receive any government funding, all this money has to be raised either by donations, people leaving money to the association in their wills or fundraising events from coffee mornings, tea parties, up to marathon running and sporting challenges. The actual amount a Guide Dog owner is charged is only £1 but many contribute to the cost of the dogs food and also to cover veterinary bills when necessary. If a person is on benefits and cannot contribute further to the cost of their dog then Guide Dogs ensure that this does not exclude them from having a dog. They can still experience the life changing benefits a guide dog can bring. 

Although Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a national charity it has quite a presence locally in the London Borough of Bromley with currently 20 Guide Dog owners in the borough.  Children and young people in the borough also benefit from our Habilitation service and are taught how to get around independently with the use of a long cane and how to be aware of their position in their surroundings. Some adults are also paired with My Guide volunteers and enjoy getting out and about locally.

If you would like further information about Guide Dogs, or would like to consider volunteering then please see the leaflets in the church or contact the

London Mobility Team on 01189838750 or



Charities to be supported 2019

This is the provisional list of charities to be supported in 2019. 

Month Charity
Jan / Feb ZANE - Zimbabwe A National Emergencu
March Guide Dogs for the Blind
April / May Christian Aid
(May / June The Parish Fete)
July / August Friends of St. Giles
September The Cystic Fibrosis Trust
October Poverty and Hope
November CRISIS
December Welcare in Bromley

Many thanks to all who have agreed to sponsor one of this year’s charities.  

Helen Roberts

See below for totals raised for charity 2018.

About Charity in Focus

In matters of faith and religion talk can be easy.  The bible teaches us that if we cannot love the brother or sister who we can see how can we love God who we cannot. At St. Giles we seek to put love into action by supporting a range of charities and good causes.  

There is obviously a tremendous amount of need in our own country and across the world with many charities seeking our support. During the course of the year a number of designated charity is supported by our community.  Funds are raised in various ways including Coffee Mornings, Cake Sales, donations and sponsored events. 

There are specific charities which are supported each year on a regular basis,  the remaining months are available for parishioners to choose a charity whose aims and objectives are close to their heart. If you would like to sponsor a charity, or any further information,  then please contact our co-ordinator:

If you would like any information about the Charity in Focus scheme, do please get in touch with our co-ordinator: Helen Roberts, contact details above.

Money Raised 2018:

Month Charity
Jan/Feb Certitude £277
March MIND £388
April/May Christian Aid* £1,710
(May/June The Parish Fete £3,329)
Jul/Aug London City Mission /
Church Mission Society
September Friends of St. Giles £415
October Poverty and Hope £587
November Crisis £693
December Welcare in Bromley £1,232
Total (excl. Parish Fete) £6,171
  (Total in 2017 £6,820)

* excludes street collections.


Charity Film Night:
Charade (1963)

Wednesday 20th March 8:00pm
St. Giles Centre

Charade is a 1963 American romantic comedy mystery film directed by Stanley Donen, written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The cast also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, and Jacques Marin.

It spans three genres: suspense thriller, romance and comedy. Because Universal Pictures published the movie with an invalid copyright notice, the film entered the public domain in the United States immediately upon its release  

The film is notable for its screenplay, especially the repartee between Grant and Hepburn, for having been filmed on location in Paris, for Henry Mancini's score and theme song, and for the animated titles by Maurice Binder.

Charade has received generally positive reviews from critics, and was additionally noted to contain influences of genres such as whodunit, screwball and spy thriller. It has also been referred to as "the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made".