'Sighted' guide Fiona Hess and Mandy Darling

Have guide dog - will travel for mayor Mandy

Torbay Weekly

It’s a case of have guide dog, will travel for Mandy Darling.

Mandy, with guide dog Pepsi by her side, is now a month into being Torbay’s civic mayor – and they are loving every minute.

She says: “It has now been just over a month since the honour of Civic Mayor of Torbay was bestowed on me and what a month it has been.  I have aided the lighting of a beacon, saluted parachutists from the sky,  boarded a navy ship, met a wonderful war veteran who flew Lancaster bombers and attended countless community events.

“Before I took on this role I had decided that my Mayoral year was going to be a little different.  For one thing it is not just me but I have Pepsi my guide dog with me.

“Secondly I will, of course do all the normal ceremonial events and represent Torbay to the best of my ability but I want to do more.  I want to bring the Mayoralty closer to the community and try and get involved with as  many local community events and promote these whenever I am able.

Claire, Curator of Brilliant Bees Mandy and Pepsi
Claire, Curator of Brilliant Bees Mandy and Pepsi

“I attended Torre Abbey for a pre-viewing of their “Brilliant Bees and their Curious Cousins” exhibition.  It was a lovely warm evening and such a gorgeous setting.  The gardens were lovely and the scent in the air from the flowers was extremely potent.  Pepsi and I were welcomed with refreshments and I was so grateful that Pepsi had been provided with a bowl of water which she drank immediately.  Guess Torre Abbey water tastes better than home water!

“I thought I knew all about bees but, on reflection,  I know very little.  The exhibition was so informative and there were many displays of different kinds of bees  both local to the South West and around the world.  It was also fascinating to see all the equipment used by bee keeping when accessing the hive for honey.  Additionally there were exhibits of insects related to the bee and  I was astonished to learn about the size of a hornet as my sighted guide, Fiona, described to me the dimensions of the one on display (not alive).

“For me though the most awesome section of the exhibition  was the working bee hive they had which was behind glass so you could watch the bees busily working away within the hive.  It was estimated that there were about 30,000 bees inside the hive.

“This exhibition  was in a lovely environment at our hidden gem, Torre Abbey.”