Blind woman’s driving ambition for charity

A BLIND woman from St Neots was to swap her usual place in the car passenger seat for a place behind the wheel yesterday (Tuesday) to complete an eight-mile charity drive. Martine Brooks, 56, is hoping her drive along the yet-to-be-opened Great Barford By

A BLIND woman from St Neots was to swap her usual place in the car passenger seat for a place behind the wheel yesterday (Tuesday) to complete an eight-mile charity drive.

Martine Brooks, 56, is hoping her drive along the yet-to-be-opened Great Barford Bypass will raise £5,000 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

The teaching assistant at St Neots Community College was due to be joined in a Renault Clio by her navigator, Steve Clarke, the Mayor of Bedford Frank Branston and St Neots driving instructor Denise Hubbard.

Before the challenge, Mrs Brooks, who lives in Hawksford Way, told The Hunts Post how much she was looking forward to her challenge.


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She said: "I am really excited - it's a really big thing for me. I trust my navigator Steve 150 per cent, and I know he won't put me in danger. He has a very calming presence.

"Some people think I'm mad, but I like a challenge and if you want to raise money you have to do something a bit different to catch people's attention."

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Mrs Brooks, who is a mother of one, chose to fundraise for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association as it has supported her since she lost her sight 25 years ago.

She said: "I've had four guide dogs since I became, blind and the charity has offered me so much support so I wanted to do something for them.

"The money I raise will go towards training a guide dog as I would have been lost without mine."

Mr Clarke, an aerospace engineer from St Neots, has been teaching Mrs Brooks to drive on a disused airfield for the past year. She has since reached speeds of up to 65mph.

Yesterday Mrs Brooks' husband Phil and her 15 year-old-son Yon, were due to watch her driving challenge. It was expected to take her about 15 minutes in a dual controlled car travelling at about 40mph.

INFORMATION: The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association supports about 5,000 guide dogs in the UK and breed over 1,000 guide dog puppies.

The charity relies on donations as it costs £10 per day to breed and train a dog.

To donate to Martine Brooks' driving challenge visit www.gbchallenge.info

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