John still guiding the way

Kelsey the guide dog
Kelsey the guide dog
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A guide dog in training has been named after a Wigan man who left more than £1m to charity in his will.

Kelsey the guide dog puppy was named after John Kelsey, the Wigan dentist and long-term supporter of the charity who died in 2015.

The 75-year-old left a substantial gift to the charity in his will, as part of a £1m donation to several local charities,

Now, thanks to his generosity, Kelsey the 18-month-old pup is making great progress at the Atherton Guide Dogs Training School, to become a fully-fledged guide dog.

Frances Combs, Legacy Engagement Officer at Guide Dogs, said: “He (Kelsey) is in his early stages of training, but we are very pleased with his progress! He is absolutely lovely. He’s very cheeky.

“He’s a lovely happy boy, and he is a smashing puppy. He’s a very bright lad.

“He wouldn’t sit still for his picture, he was far too interested in running around, but the trainers like that because it shows he is a confident dog.

“We have several puppies named in memory of loved ones from our supporters.

“It’s a really nice thing, especially if they were a lifelong supporter of the charity.

“Two out of three of our dogs wouldn’t be here without gifts from wills.

“We hope Kelsey will change somebody’s life forever.

“It’s a wonderful thing that John has done, we are so grateful and it is going to mean a lot to whoever Kelsey goes to.”

Kelsey and his trainer Logan Robinette recently met with Brian Muir, a close friend of John’s and executor of his will, with Frances reporting that the pair got on very well.

John, who never married and had no close family, looked after the teeth of generations of Wiganers for more than half a century at his Market Street Dental Practice.

He was born in 1940 in Swinton, the only child of James and May Kelsey.

He was inspired to support sight loss charities after his mother became totally blind when he was only 18 months old.

After the death of his father only a few years later, John discovered the difference that getting the right support would make to those with visual impairments.

As well as Guide Dogs, John also bequeathed portions of his £1m estate to Henshaws, a charity which also supports people living with sight loss, in addition to cancer charities Marie Curie and The Christie.