One of the most prolific Volunteers Irish Guide Dogs has ever had, Phil Geoghegan has helped raise over €1 million for the charity over the course of the last 28 years.

Phil first got involved with Irish Guide Dogs in 1989. She saw a notice for a Dog Walk Fundraiser in aid of the charity and decided to bring her husband, Tom, and their two new Labradors along to the event.

“It was headed by Clare de Burgh who was the organiser at that particular time, and we decided we’d go on it. We were trotting down along by the canal in Naas when Clare caught up with us and said ‘Two lovely young dogs, two new people, and I think you’d be great people now to come and join Irish Guide Dogs in Naas here and help us fundraise,” remembers Phil.

“That’s where it started really. Clare was the type of person you couldn’t really say no to! She was lovely. Unfortunately, she passed away last December. She did great service to Irish Guide Dogs. If Clare said to jump, you’d nearly say how high.

Chairman of the Board of the Irish Guide Dogs Pat Burke presenting an award to Phil Geoghegan to commemorate her efforts in raising over one million Euro in the past 10 years.

“So we gave her our names and phone numbers, and any time there was anything on then she would always invite us to participate.” At that stage, Phil was taking part in collections at local supermarkets and taking part in different events.

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As the years went by, she got more and more involved. In 2006, Clare officially “handed over the reins” to Phil, who continues to organise all Irish Guide Dog events in Naas, Newbridge, Kildare and Monasterevin.

“My thought is always, what if I lost my eyesight. Then you’re depending on Irish Guide Dogs to look after you. So we need to look after them first. I´d tell anyone to get involved in organising or fundraising for them.

“If you’re going to get involved, the first thing is to be organised. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Prepare for the event, organise it properly, do the event and always have ‘please’ and ‘thank’ you on the tip of your tongue.”

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