Islington woman puts on club night in memory of dad’s guide dog

THE daughter of a blind man whose beloved guide dog died recently is putting on a club night with a host of superstar DJs in memory of her dad’s faithful canine.

Abby McLachlan is bringing a stellar line-up to trendy Islington nightspot the Old Queen’s Head, in Essex Road, on November 11.

And the 34-year-old, of Mildmay Road, Newington Green, is hoping to raise �2,000 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs), the charity that trained her father’s late dog Astra.

Ms McLachlan, who works for Warner Music, said: “I wanted to do something in Astra’s memory, and putting on a club night seemed to me to be a good way to raise a lot of money for this charity that has done so much for our family.”

Her father Neil McLachlan, 69, a retired engineer who lives in Wales, was devastated by the dog’s death in June.

She said: “I have never really seen him cry before. She was an amazing dog. He spent most of his retirement with her. They were reliant on each other.”

Dance legends Stanton Warriors, Freestylers and Tayo will be on the turntables - as Ms McLachlan kicks off a string of fundraising efforts. She also plans to put on a comedy night and will be running the London Marathon in April - all in a bid to raise up to �5,000 for Guide Dogs.

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Mr McLachlan - who once scaled Mera Peek in the Himalayas and held the record for the highest climb by a blind person - lost his sight to a wasting disease of the retina when his daughter was five years old.

She said: “When I was growing up he just used his umbrella to get around. He’d come home with cuts and bruises after banging into things. When he got his first dog it really changed things for him.”

Mr McLachlan’s first guide dog, Gail, was also trained by the Guide Dogs, and was with him for 10 years.

“It took him a while to get over Gail’s death,” added Ms McLachlan. “Now he isn’t really sure he wants another dog - he said he couldn’t go through the pain of losing it again.”

Mike Cobb, a spokesman for Guide Dogs, said: “We are delighted that Abby has decided to hold this event in memory of Astra. We really appreciate this support and the funds raised will go towards our service for blind and partially sighted people.”

- The event takes place at the Old Queen’s Head on November 11, with a �5 donation the price of entry.