RNC’s Jill Hurds nominated for local Guide Dogs award

To celebrate National Volunteers Week, we are pleased to announce that our very own Jill Hurds has been shortlisted for a Guide Dogs local volunteer award; the ceremony takes place in Birmingham this Friday, 10 June. Jill says “I volunteer because I love looking after the dogs and it allows their owners to get on with other things in their lives, such as playing sport or going on holiday.”


Looking after the dogs means that Jill collects them, feeds them, exercises them (in all weathers) and often has them stay over at her home. “The Guide Dogs awards ceremony is on Friday and I’m actually picking one up from the train station in Birmingham on the way home and then there are another two that I will be picking up from RNC when I get back to Hereford.” Jill jokes “I don’t have time for a social life; it’s all about the dogs. No wonder I’m always covered in dog hair!”


Jill works in the HR (Human Resources) department of RNC (Royal National College for the Blind) and has been an official Guide Dogs volunteer boarder since 2010. “My husband John used to be a Business Studies teacher here at RNC and would always fuss the guide dogs (off harness, of course!) One day a student named Andy asked John to look after his guide dog for the day and we were then told that we could officially apply to become Guide Dog boarders, so that’s what we did.”


James, John and Jill are kneeling down with guide dog Lyle beside an England flag.

The Hurds family with guide dog Lyle

Jill, John and their son James are a family of dog lovers and in 2015 alone they had 80 separate periods of boarding for 29 different dogs (7 for RNC students, 19 for local guide dog owners, 2 guide dogs in training and they also acted as the puppy walking family for a special dog named Birdie before she went on to puppy training school. Read more about Birdie’s journey through puppy training. Jill explains “I had a real proud mummy moment when I found out that Birdie qualified as an official guide dog in March 2016, I even had to get the tissues out. Birdie is now working with a lady in Exeter and helping to change her life every day – I am so proud to have been a part of that and it’s what makes volunteering so worthwhile.”


Find out more about Jill – read her staff profile


If you are interested in studying at RNC, where guide dogs are of course welcome, please call our student enquiries line on 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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