AN OXFORD homebuilder hosted a lunch with a twist when it plunged its guests into darkness to give them a taste of life without vision.

The unusual event saw diners, including the Oxford Mail’s Fran Way, blindfolded as they tucked into a Caesar salad – or tried to.

The lunch was in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which trains dogs to help the visually impaired.

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Guide dogs provide mobility for the blind and partially sighted, and there are more than 4,950 working dogs in the UK.

The Oxford Times:

Bosses at David Wilson Homes hosted the event at on of their new show homes in Grove on Wednesdsay, and donated £1,000 to the charity.

Nicola Pamphilon, who is visually impaired and uses guide dog Kimber, joined the lunch and spoke to guests about the realities of living without one of her senses.

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She explained to the group how her guide dog has changed her life, and without Kimber – who is now nearly five – she would not have the same independence.

The mum, who also visits schools and organisations to talk about the charity, explained how Kimber was trained as a puppy to learn her routes so she can now safely direct Mrs Pamphilion to her favourite coffee shop in town just by using the command ‘coffee’.

The Oxford Times:

Other guests at the meal included Velvet – a black Labrador whose job is to breed perfect pups.

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Velvet has already birthed two litters which have gone on to become guide dogs and medical dogs who can now smell signals of disease such as cancer.

She is expected to have two more litters before she retires at the age of six, where she can then be adopted by her current carers as a retired dog.

To find out more about Guide Dogs for the Blind Association visit guidedogs.org.uk