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Norfolk vicar honoured at guide dog awards 

SimonStokesTorch450Norfolk church minister, the Rev Canon Simon Stokes, vicar of Sprowston has been honoured in the Inspirational Guide Dog Owner of the Year competition run by the Daily Mail.


The Guide Dogs Annual Awards celebrates the incredible achievements of guide dog owners and Simon was a short-listed finalist in the Inspirational Guide Dog Owner of the Year category.

Despite being registered blind since the age of 24, Simon achievements have included missionary work in Nepal, Namibia and India, being a vicar of three different parishes and a member of the General Synod.
 
He is also a Watch Leader for the Jubilee Sailing Trust (which enables people with disabilities to sail), jumped out of a plane and run three marathons for charity. In 2012, he was chosen to run a leg of the Olympic Torch relay in Norwich city centre.

Simon, aged 52, was partnered by his third guide dog, Hope. He told the Daily Mail: “She is smaller than my previous dog Jamie, but she's so intelligent, and she adapts very quickly to new situations.”
 
SimonStokesHopeCredit300Hope gives Simon the confidence to go anywhere he needs without having to rely on anyone: “Having a guide dog breaks down barriers in so many ways,” said Simon.” Everyone, from school children to the elderly, knows and loves Hope, she's a real part of the local community.”

The awards were presented at a special event at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London in front of 450 guests earlier this month.
 
You can read more about Simon and the Awards at DailyMail.co.uk
 
www.guidedogs.org.uk
 
Pictured above is Simon Stokes with his guide dog Hope, picture courtesy of the Daily Mail, and top, Simon taking part in the Olympic Torch relay in Norwich in 2012.
 


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