On 10 March Graham Owen, broke the blind salt water scuba diving depth record reaching an amazing 111 metres, beating the previous record of 105 metres.
Graham, works as an Estate Support Officer for WDH in Airedale and lost his sight 16 years ago. He relies on his guide dog, Gypsy, who he takes to work with his every day. He took on this challenge to raise money for Guide Dogs and in memory of his friend Paula Blakemore.
Graham said: “In 2007 I was lucky enough to be matched with my first guide dog Gunner and on Gunner’s retirement I started training with Gypsy. I am very lucky, I live what is for me at any rate, a busy and, for the most part, fulfilling life, made possible by amazing family, friends and not least Gypsy. I am, however, one of the few who are lucky enough to have the benefit of a guide dog.“
Graham and his two friends, Steve Arnold and Albi Roberts, travelled to Egypt last week to carry out the dive in the Red Sea.
When asked how the dive went, Graham said: “It went really well at one point I had a hand on each tectonic plate so I was touching Africa and Asia at the same time, it was amazing! There was quite a strong current during the dive and it was difficult for me getting down below the sea bed. However once we got down to depth I really enjoyed it and felt very comfortable. I am so pleased to have broken the record and all the support from home has being overwhelming!”
There are currently 5,500 guide dogs in service and the cost of a guide dog is £50,000 throughout their working life. If Graham successfully raises £2,500 he will be able to name a new guide dog puppy that will go on to help someone else with sight loss regain a bit of their independence. If successful with his fundraising, Graham plans to name a new puppy after his first guide dog, Gunner, who helped him regain his mobility and confidence after he lost his sight.
Graham said: “It felt amazing to have so much support. I really just want to thank everyone for their interest and for donating. It really does make a difference.”
If you would like to donate in honour of Graham breaking this record please donate here or use one of the sponsorship forms in Airedale Service Access Point.