A BLIND pensioner has been told he will not be given a new guide dog after being forced to give up the one he has — because he walks too slowly.

Eric Gamsby, from Daubhill, has relied on his guide dog, Alice, for the last six years.

But the golden retriever, who is nine years old, must now retire under the rules of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Mr Gamsby, aged 78, who suffers from sciatica, has been told he walks too slowly to be eligible for a replacement dog and must now rely on his white stick instead.

The widower, who has had guide dogs since he was 60, said: “I’m very down about it, very disappointed. She’s been a good dog — she’s not only a guide dog, she’s company for me.

“It will be like having a member of the family taken away from me.”

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has told Mr Gamsby that a representative will visit him shortly to remove Alice’s harness so she may no longer be used as a guide dog.

A spokesman for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said they could not comment on individual cases.