Chris Tattersall’s love of Blackburn Rovers began in 1966 when he was just 13.
He can vividly remember boarding the coach at Clitheroe with his school friends and the anticipation and excitement as the journey to Ewood Park began, then the electric atmosphere in the ground.
His love of the Rovers began here. Chris became a dedicated supporter visiting Ewood Park for all the home games. Experiencing all the trials and tribulations as his team won and lost; feeling the rollercoaster of emotions as each season progressed.
But, at the age of 29, Chris began to lose his sight and by the age of 40 was left with no useful vision and was forced to give up work, which led to him becoming isolated. He became so worried about going out for fear of bumping into things and injuring himself he literally became housebound, stopped taking part in life and going to his beloved football.
For three long years Chris was housebound until, in 1997, he got his first guide dog, Fable. Fable changed Chris’ life; she got him out and about again, gave him back his independence and increased his confidence.
“It was like a breath of fresh air, once again I could walk with my head held high,” said Chris.
As his confidence increased he began doing things he loved once more, including attending Rovers matches. As football matches are noisy and crowded they are not usually the best place to take a dog; so Chris would leave his guide dog at home and attend with his son or daughter. He would tune into Radio Rovers as the match started and listen to their commentary while soaking up the atmosphere of the ground.
Fast forward to the present day and Chris is enjoying life with his third guide dog, Bobby. His children have grown and flown the nest and because a lively football match is not a suitable environment for Bobby, Chris has been struggling at attend home matches. The Guide Dogs Charity did find Chris a “My Guide” volunteer, who was a Blackburn Rovers fan and able to collect Chris from Clitheroe on match days and safely guide him in and out of the ground, enjoying the match with him. Unfortunately, work commitments meant this volunteer was no longer able to help.
Guide Dogs are now looking for a Blackburn Rovers fan able to attend the home matches and help Chris by collecting him from Clitheroe and safely guiding him to and from the football stadium, while enjoying the game with him. Guide Dogs will give full training on how to guide somebody with sight loss and cover all reasonable expenses, including the cost of the match day ticket.
Chris does not want his love affair with Blackburn Rovers to end. If you think this volunteering opportunity might be right for you, contact Claire Hebblethwaite at Guide Dogs Manchester to find out more on 0845 372 7409 or by email to: Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org .