26th Oct, 2016

Merleen nominated for award

Evesham Editorial 9th Oct, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A BROADWAY woman who lost all all confidence in her life after losing her hearing has been nominated for a special award.

Merleen Watson and her hearing dog Grace attended a glitzy awards ceremony in London on Wednesday (October 8) after being selected as a nominee for the Volunteer of the Year category at this year’s Hearing Dog Awards.

National charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, which trains hundreds of dogs to alert deaf people to important sounds and signals, hosted the awards which was also attended by the charity’s patron Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal along with

several celebrity supporters.

Merleen, 67, lost her hearing 35 years ago and in-turn lost all of her confidence and self-esteem in her life.

But volunteering for the dogs charity has had a huge impact giving her a much welcomed new lease of life. As a volunteer she

speaks to groups of people talking about the charity’s work and organises fund-raising events – raising more than £3,000 last

year alone.

And last year Merleen’s life changed again when her hearing dog Grace came into her life. Grace is a black Cocker Spaniel who accompanies her to all her talks and events.

“When I lost my hearing my self-esteem plummeted but Grace has transformed all that,” Merleen said.

“Volunteering for Hearing Dogs has hugely helped with my confidence and now that I have Grace I feel so much more self-assured when I’m out and about at the shops.

“People love meeting Grace, she is a very special girl. She is life-changing to me and a friend to all those who meet her.

“Deafness makes you feel less valuable as a person but volunteering for Hearing Dogs gets me out into the local community. I can use the skills that I’ve developed over a long period of work for a good cause and meet new people at the same time.”

Visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk for more information about the charity.