Optician jumps in the saddle to deliver telegrams in aid of Guide Dogs - The Leamington Observer

Optician jumps in the saddle to deliver telegrams in aid of Guide Dogs

Leamington Editorial 22nd Apr, 2021   0

A NOVEL telegram service has been uniting residents across Leamington.

Optician Russell Peake set up Spa Telegram to raise money for sight loss charity Guide Dogs, after reflecting on the isolation felt by many over lockdown.

Russell, who was inspired by memories of telegrams belonging to his family, got hold of an old typewriter to make templates for the telegrams. He now takes requests from people via email before typing them up and delivering them on his bike.

He said: “I just thought it’s a novel way of communicating and keeping in touch while we’re all apart.

“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.”

Russell started the service at the beginning of March and has already hand-delivered more than 40 telegrams.

He added: “I’ve had requests from families wanting to tell elderly relatives how much they miss them, birth announcements, birthday messages and some joke messages too. It’s been a real mix – from the really insignificant to the really significant.”

Russell and his family volunteer as fosterers for sight loss charity Guide Dogs and have been looking after trainee guide Fred, a Golden Retriever cross German Shepherd, since February last year.

He decided to ask for donations to Guide Dogs in exchange for the telegram service.

Charity spokeswoman Liz Gilbert said: “Russell has come up with such a fantastic idea to keep in touch with loved ones and we’re so pleased he’s chosen to support us here at Guide Dogs too.

“It costs £54,800 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement and, as a charity, we rely almost entirely on public donations.

“We wish Russell the best of luck with this project.”

• Visit www.spatelegram.com or @spatelegram on Instagram or www.justgiving.com/fundraising/spatelegram for more information and to donate.


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