Eva Rich, of Saundersfoot, has today received Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s daily Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individuals who make a positive change within their community and inspire others.
The Pembrokeshire guide dog owner was given the special award On World Sight Day (Thursday October 12), and coinciding with Guide Dogs Appeal month.
Eva was born with a vision impairment, becoming totally blind aged 13, and was paired with her first guide dog at 19. She’s been a guide dog owner for 61 years and is currently partnered with yellow Labrador retriever Nancy.
Eva set up the Pembrokeshire fundraising group of Guide Dogs in 1975, where she has been organiser and secretary for more than 40 years. This summer, she received royal recognition when she was named by King Charles as a Coronation Champion, making her one of just four guide dog owners in the whole of the UK to be given the honour. She also scooped Guide Dogs’ Princess Alexandra Award for Lifetime Achievement last November.
Through Eva’s ambassadorship and talks, she has helped many people understand the work of Guide Dogs, inspiring others to fundraise for the charity. Eva works with the group to run numerous fundraising activities, including coffee mornings, store collections and other events, and has raised more than £700,000 since starting the group.
Eva said: “I was absolutely surprised to receive the call. As this is my third award in 12 months I am feeling very humbled and very appreciated.”