Leamington optician has now raised more than £1,500 for Guide Dogs by writing and delivering telegrams to help people keep in touch

Russell Peake set up Spa Telegram in March 2021, after reflecting on how lockdown left people feeling separated.

Russell Peake with guide dog Fred, a Golden Retriever cross German Shepherd.
Russell Peake with guide dog Fred, a Golden Retriever cross German Shepherd.

An Optician from Leamington who is supporting sight loss charity Guide Dogs, by making and hand delivering telegrams has now raised more than £1,500 through his fundraising effort.

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He has now typed up more than 400 telegrams.

A guide dog puppy.

For each telegram purchased £2 is donated.

Russell said: “It is a novel way of communicating and keeping in touch.

“I managed to get hold of a really old typewriter and started making templates.”

The service has been well supported.

One of the Spa Telegrams

West Midlands business RBH Creative Communications ordered more than 100 telegrams to be sent out as Christmas cards.

As the telegram harks back to a time when life was slower, the company wanted to wish clients and colleagues a calm festive break from the fast-paced world of media and marketing.

To further support Guide Dogs, they matched the funds raised for the charity.

Russell was also inspired by memories of telegrams belonging to his family.

“My parents had one framed in the house from my dad to my mum – saying ‘I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.’

“It’s something that you can keep forever, and it doesn’t get lost in the sea of messages on your phone.”

He added: “I’ve had proposals, birth announcements, birthday messages and some joke messages too.

"I’ve also typed up people’s messages at community events and art festivals such as Art in the Park.”

“It’s been a real mix – from the really insignificant to the really significant.”

Russell and his family have previously volunteered as fosterers for Guide Dogs.

He lives across the road from the training centre in Warwick New Road and said he sees the amazing work the dogs do on a daily basis.

Liz Gilbert, community fundraising relationship manager for Guide Dogs, said: “Russell has come up with such a fantastic initiative to keep in touch with loved ones and engage the local community and we’re so pleased that he’s chosen to support our charity to help provide vital services to people living with sight loss.”

For more information about Spa Telegram and to donate to Guide Dogs, visit https://www.spatelegram.com/