Clever canines

Brigette and her husband Robert have been fundraising to help transform deaf people’s lives

OPG of 30 years, Brigette Pratt, from Kirkcaldy Delivery Office, has been raising much-needed funds and awareness for the ‘Hearing Dogs for the Deaf’ charity.

Over Christmas, Brigette made up several special hampers to be used as raffle prizes. Her husband Robert, a collections driver at Cupar Delivery Office, then handed the hampers out to local volunteers fundraising for the charity. Together, they helped raise £228 from the sale of raffle tickets, with all proceeds going towards training ‘hearing dogs’ who help transform deaf people’s lives.

Hearing Dogs for the Deaf train ‘clever dogs to help deaf people,’ alerting them to important and life-saving sounds they would otherwise miss – sounds that most of us take for granted like the doorbell, alarm clock and even danger signals like the fire alarm. Being aware of these – thanks to a hearing dog – makes a real difference to, and can even save, deaf people’s lives.

‘I chose this wonderful charity, because deafness is something close to my heart,’ said Brigette. ‘I grew up with my own father being completely deaf as his hearing was severely damaged during his time serving as a naval officer during the Second World War.

‘Put simply, the guns on his ship burst his eardrums, and he never recovered his hearing even after several operations to try to restore it. It was tragic. He was only in his 20s when it happened and as a result, he had to live the rest of his life completely deaf, with lip reading his only means of communicating.

‘That said, he and my mum still managed to successfully raise five children. I’m the youngest at a sprightly 58. Both my parents have now sadly passed, my father in 2007, aged 82 and my mother in 2017 aged 92.’

Brigette and Robert recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, having married when they were both 17.

‘We have grown up together,’ said Brigette. ‘We have no children, but we’ve enjoyed a simple rural life that has been filled with ponies and dogs throughout.’

7 Jan 2021