by HAZEL HAMMOND
A RICHHILL musician who is reliant on a guide dog has organised a fundraising evening to give something back to the charity which provided him with his canine companion.
Trevor Gibb lost his eye sight in 1990, as a result of complications during surgery to remove a brain tumour.
At the time Trevor was a rising star in the country music scene, having played alongside Clubsound and other household performers such as Susan McCann, Sandy Kelly and Gene Fitzpatrick.
In order to give something back Trevor and his friend James Cunningham - who also avails of a guide dog - have organised a charity country music evening at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown.
The event is being held on Wednesday, November 7 at 7.45pm and will include top names such as Crawford Bell, Andrea Begley, Owen Mac, Country Harmony, Eileen King and Mark Bratton from 15 T Street in Armagh.
On the evening, a string quartet made up with pupils from the Royal School Armagh will also welcome guests in the foyer.
“A guide dog costs £50,000 so there is a lot of gathering in that,” Trevor, from Woodlawn Heights, told the Ulster Gazette.
“When they took my tumour away a certain implement touched on the retina which meant I would be registered blind.
“While it was life changing, at the same time you try to get on as best as possible and as the saying goes behind every successful man is a good woman and Jenny Gibb certainly is that to me.
“I was with the RNIB and I was approached and asked if I would be interested in having a guide dog.
“They have to get you a dog that suits your height and I am six foot one, so I had to wait before I got Oscar and then go to La Mon for two weeks intensive training as you have to learn commands.
“After that it was the 30th anniversary of Guide Dogs and because of my criteria in the entertainment profession they looked at me to see if I could help.
“I met a guy called James Cunningham and he has a guide dog called Bart and he is a fabulous pianist.
“He and I got together and we looked upon it as a way of giving something back as we could not do what we do without the dogs.
“I’ve had Oscar for just over two years now and he has been brilliant and James likewise looks upon his dog Bart the same way.
“Our dogs cost us 50 pence and we get that back when they stop being a guide dog and all the vet bills and dog foods are paid for.
“We are looking at pay back time, especially when you look upon a dog at £50,000. We call it the Oscar/Bart show when we play together.
“Most of the participants look upon guide dogs with a big heart so we hope to raise as much money as possible and there will also be a raffle as well on the evening.
“I highly recommend Guide Dogs NI because of what they do and they never get a thing said about them,” Trevor added.
Tickets for the show cost £20 each and are available from Trevor and James or from the Seagoe Hotel, or anyone without a ticket can pay at the door on the evening.