DUDLEY’S first citizen got a taste of life without sight during a blindfolded visit to the town centre.

Mayor of Dudley, Cllr Margaret Aston took part in a challenge from the Guide Dogs charity to learn how people cope with blindness while going about everyday tasks like crossing roads and catching a bus.

Cllr Aston was led through the town by 19-month-old guide dog Pixie, a labrador retriever, from the Council House to the bus station where she travelled on a bus for two stops, having to find a seat without being able to see.

Cllr Aston said: “It was an incredible experience and one that will live with me forever. It gave me a real appreciation for what it must be like to walk just a short distance through a busy shopping town and do everyday things like catching a bus.

“Guide Dogs do such incredible work in giving people with sight loss that independence they need, I urge people to find out more about them and give what they can to help them continue helping people.”

Sarah Knox, community fundraiser for Guide Dogs, said: “We really appreciate the support from the mayor. We receive no government funding for our Guide Dog service and so rely heavily on the support that is offered to us by individuals, groups and charity partners.

“We wanted to give the mayor a small insight into what living with sight loss means in reality for the thousands of blind and partially sighted people who live in our community.”

Guide Dogs is one of two causes being supported by the mayor, during her year in office, the other charity is Action Heart.