Family meets guide dog pup sponsored in memory of well known Barnstaple surgeon John Partridge.

A North Devon family have been able to meet the guide dog puppy they have sponsored in memory of a loving father and husband.

When retired Barnstaple surgeon John Partridge, known as ‘JP’, died in March last year aged 91, his family, friends, colleagues and patients decided to set up a Guide Dogs Tribute Fund in his memory.

On Monday they were able to meet four-month-old golden retriever ‘Jaypee’ for the first time, accompanied by Guide Dog puppy walker Helen Wells.

The group met at Trelawney garden centre, Ashford and included John’s wife Betty, his son Philip, granddaughter Catharine and her mother Angela Lofthouse plus friends Leno Lamanna and Anna.

The family has now raised £8,250 and hope to meet Jaypee again later in his training when they pass the £10,000 fundraising mark.

John Partridge worked at the North Devon Infirmary and then North Devon District Hospital for more than 20 years, until his retirement in 1984.

He was an avid dog lover and could often be seen walking his yellow Labradors at Codden Hill near the family’s Bishops Tawton home, so they were certain he would approve of his canine legacy.

“We’re absolutely delighted with Jaypee and we’re just so grateful to Helen for taking him on,” said Philip.

“We think dad would be delighted. He loved labs - we puppy walked one ourselves 10 years ago and that has just retired as a guide dog. I would like to thank all the kind people who have donated to dad’s guide dog tribute fund, without whom Jaypee would not have been possible.”

Jaypee will spend more than a year with Helen before going on for more advanced training. To contribute to the Jaypee Tribute Fund, call 0845 6031477.

Guide Dogs is always on the look out for more puppy walkers and volunteers in North Devon and across the region. Anyone who would like to find out more can call the Exeter office on 0845 372 7407 or email exeter@guidedogs.org.uk