AN INVENTIVE Leamington optician is delivering on his commitment to raise money for sight loss charity Guide Dogs by reviving the telegram.
Russell Peake set up Spa Telegram in March 2021, after reflecting on how lockdown left people feeling separated.
He has now typed up and delivered more than 400 telegrams and raised more than £1,600 for the charity by donating £2 for each telegram purchased.
Russell said: “It is a novel way of communicating and keeping in touch. I managed to get hold of a really old typewriter and started making templates.”
Russell was inspired by memories of telegrams belonging to his family.
He said: “My parents had one framed in the house from my dad to my mum – saying ‘I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.’
“It’s something that you can keep forever, and it doesn’t get lost in the sea of messages on your phone.
“I’ve had proposals, birth announcements, birthday messages and some joke messages too. I’ve also typed up people’s messages at community events and art festivals such as Art in the Park.
“It’s been a real mix – from the really insignificant to the really significant.”
Russell and his family have previously volunteered as Fosterers for Guide Dogs.
He said: “I’m close to the charity as a volunteer and we also live across the road from the training centre so see the amazing work these dogs do on a daily basis.”
The service has been well supported in the community – with local business RBH Creative Communications ordering more than a hundred telegrams to be sent out as Christmas cards.
As the telegram harks back to a time when life was slower, the company wanted to wish clients and colleagues a calm festive break from the fast-paced world of media and marketing. They also matched the funds raised for the charity.
Liz Gilbert, community fundraising relationship manager for Guide Dogs, said: “Russell has come up with such a fantastic initiative to keep in touch with loved ones and engage the local community, and we’re so pleased that he’s chosen to support our charity to help provide vital services to people living with sight loss.”