Afternoon tea will help Guide Dogs charity

Afternoon tea at Bartle Hall will do more than banish the blues this winter. It will also help the charity Guide Dogs, an organisation committed to providing independence and freedom to people with sight loss.

Every booking for the winter afternoon tea at the country house hotel near Preston will include a donation to the Guide Dogs fund.

It’s the idea of the hotel’s owners Andrew and Nicola Haworth who became involved with the charity after discussions with visitors, who are partially sighted, about the best ways to improve access and movement around older buildings such as Bartle Hall.

The Guide Dogs organisation is the world’s largest breeder and trainer of working dogs and they have helped more than 29,000 people to achieve life-changing independence. Every hour, another person in the UK goes blind. When someone loses their sight, the charity Guide Dogs is here to make sure they don’t lose their freedom as well.

“Their vision is for a society in which people who are blind and partially sighted enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else,” said Nicola. “We want to help play a small part in working towards that.”

So they invited local guide dog owner and Preston group organiser, Cheryl Johnson, to explain what they could do to help.

“Guide Dogs will not rest until people who are blind or partially sighted can enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else,” said Cheryl. “The lifetime cost of a guide dog is around £50,000 and the charity relies on public donations, so we are really grateful for this initiative at Bartle Hall. It will help change lives.”

The country-estate setting and elegant interior at Bartle give visitors a sense of “getting away from it all”  and the winter afternoon teas are designed to lift the spirits, whether as an escape from the frenzy of Christmas shopping – or an antidote to the after-Christmas blues.

It’s a grand former stately home, set in 16 acres of gardens and woodland, and yet only a few minutes from the motorway and an easy drive out of the Lancashire towns and cities.

The teas also offer a chance to linger and soak up the atmosphere of the historic country mansion which has been owned by the Haworths for 25 years. They have transformed it into a luxurious and welcome hotel which is loved by wedding couples celebrating their marriages here, but also a choice for midweek business lunches, meetings, networking events and family gatherings.

There’s a newly redesigned restaurant, Nest, under the guidance of a new executive chef, Craig Brown, although the afternoon teas can be taken in the lounge.

The afternoon teas are offered at a special price of £28 for two, with a glass of “winter Pimms”, a warming blend of  blackberry, apple and cinnamon .

To book an afternoon tea call 01772 690506.

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Pictured with Nicola and Andrew Haworth are Carole Bond and Cheryl Johnson with guide dog Thelma .

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