A VISUALLY-impaired woman from Wallasey who was able to turn her life around thanks to man’s best friend has been shortlisted for a prestigious honour at the Guide Dogs charity’s annual awards.

Since losing her sight at the age of 21, Lynette Proctor’s life has changed dramatically.

Her sight loss left her completely isolated and unable to go out on her own. She had depression and panic attacks and was forced to rely on her parents to take her to hospital.

Growing up in Wallasey, Lynette achieved top GCSE results and secured a university place, despite enduring years of bullying by other pupils at school, and teachers constantly telling her what she couldn’t do.

But just one year into her course, a tough series of scans and hospital treatments forced Lynette, now aged 27, to admit that her deteriorating sight – caused by the eye conditions nystagmus and ocular albinism – had finally beaten her.

She dropped out of university, gave up her part-time job and student accommodation, and lost the friendships she had made. Her confidence and independence were destroyed.

It was only when someone at her counselling session suggested she apply for a guide dog that things to change for Lynette.

In 2013, she was partnered with her first guide dog Pippa and has never looked back since.

After seeing first-hand the life-changing impact that Pippa has had on Lynette’s life, a friend nominated the partnership under the “Life Changing” category at the Guide Dog of the Year Awards, held in London in December.

“I feel very honoured to have been shortlisted, it feels like recognition that I have reached a place in life that I should be proud of,” said Lynette.

“I’m not a competitive person, so to me it already feels like I have won. I have won by being nominated and shortlisted. I have won by having an amazing partner in crime with Pippa, I have won by getting to a point in life where I am happy.

“Winning the award though would be recognition to everyone who has helped us get here, as we would never have done it alone.”

Pippa has given Lynette the freedom and independence to do things she never thought possible – including raising hundreds of pounds for Guide Dogs by diving with sharks.

She went back to college, enabling her to gain employment as an engagement officer at Guide Dogs Liverpool where she now helps to raise awareness of the charity and helps others with sight loss.

In 2014, Lynette helped to promote the charities ‘Talking Buses’ petition, which called for audio visual announcements to be installed on the region’s buses.

As part of the campaign, Lynette was on-hand to help Globe reporter Emma Rigby make her way to Liscard town centre on the bus – blindfolded. You can re-read how they got on here.

  • To find out more about the life-changing work of Guide Dogs in the Merseyside area, visit guidedogs.org.uk