Freemasons from the Ipswich Masonic Hall are hosting a blind folded dinner at the Ipswich Showgrounds to raise money for Guide Dogs Queensland. Freemasons Ian Brown and Jim Williams with caterer Gabby Bell and guide dog Barry.
Freemasons from the Ipswich Masonic Hall are hosting a blind folded dinner at the Ipswich Showgrounds to raise money for Guide Dogs Queensland. Freemasons Ian Brown and Jim Williams with caterer Gabby Bell and guide dog Barry. David Nielsen

Ultimate blind dinner date to help guide dogs

EVER tried to eat dinner with your eyes shut? That is the challenge to the community by the United Tradesmen's Lodge of Ipswich this month.

The Lodge will hold its annual fundraiser for Guide Dogs Queensland, supporting its work around Ipswich.

"This is part of our Masonic Charter to support the community, we have been helping Guide Dogs Queensland for a few years," Ian Brown said.

"We get great support from Gabby and her staff at the Ipswich Showplace Pavilion, she donates everything for the night."

Mr Brown said the idea is to give people an insight into the challenges facing the visually impaired community every day.

"We have had people who put their blindfold on at the start of the night and leave it on all night, one lady wore it the whole time, even when she went the ladies room."

While the two course meal is the main attraction, Mr Brown said there will also be raffles and auctions through the night, as well as entertainment.

"This is a great opportunity for people to support a charity that doesn't get a lot of government support, but they do a fantastic job."

With Masons Queensland providing 'dollar for dollar' funding, up to a maximum of $3000, Mr Brown said the Dinner in the Dark has the potential to raise more than $6000.

"In the previous three years we have raised $19,000, so we are confident of a similar result this year," he said.

"Last year we had 170 people here on the night, we are aiming to fit more in this year, this is a great cause."

Aileen McGregor-Lowndes, of Guide Dogs Queensland, said the community support was vital, with Guide Dogs working with a number of adults and children.

"Children cannot have a guide dog until they turn 18, so we work with them to provide other support on a day-to-day basis," she said.

"It costs $35,000 to train a single guide dog, we get very little government funding, everything we do is with community support."



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