Llandeilo guide dog owner shortlisted for prestigious national award

South Wales Guardian: THIS MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Konrad Galen-Bisping and his guide dog, Radley. THIS MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Konrad Galen-Bisping and his guide dog, Radley.

A FORMER Army soldier from the Towy Valley who lost his sight after an axe attack is in line for a prestigious award.

Konrad Galen-Bisping, who lives near Llandeilo, has been shortlisted for the Inspiring Guide Dog Owner award at this year’s national Guide Dogs Annual Awards.

Konrad and his wife Siwan will attend a star-studded awards ceremony on Wednesday (December 11) at the London Hilton on Park Lane, where the winners will be revealed.

Konrad’s life was turned upside down in January 2003 while on training exercises on Salisbury Plain with the 1st Battalion Queen’s Lancashire Regiment. A Lance-Corporal, he was hit with an axe in the back of the head by a squaddie following a reprimand earlier that day, and was left fighting for his life in hospital.

“Apparently I died two or three times but they brought me back,” he said. “Obviously it wasn’t my time.”

Konrad suffered brain damage, permanent loss of vision and post-traumatic stress. He spent two years in hospital and rehabilitation before he was able to return home, where 24-hour carers helped him with his daily tasks. He never went anywhere alone.

Before he had his guide dog, Radley, he couldn't walk down the street alone and would have panic attacks if anyone walked up behind him, especially a man.

But with Radley, the guide dog, as his new best friend, Konrad’s confidence began to grow and eventually he was able to walk around Llandeilo without his carer and he met Siwan, from Carmarthen, when he and the dog attended the gym where she worked as manageress.

The couple lead a busy life with their three sons, and show dogs as a hobby. Konrad has also been training for the Paralympic shot put team.


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