Best paw forward for Durham fund-raisers

Philippa Tomson launched St Cuthbert's Hospice annual Paws For A Cause dog walk.

Philippa Tomson launched St Cuthbert's Hospice annual Paws For A Cause dog walk.

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DOZENS of dogs put their best paws forward when they went for walkies in aid of a pet charity.

A record number of pooches helped to raise stacks of cash during St Cuthbert’s Hospice’s third annual Paws for A Cause dog walk, with more than 140 dogs strolling through Houghall Woods for the charity.

A total of £9,000 was raised on the day, enough cash to pay for an overnight respite stay for 22 people battling life-limiting illnesses at the Durham-based hospice.

ITV’s Philippa Tomson kick-started Sunday’s three-mile walk with her Tibetan Terriers, Billy and BG.

Pets enjoyed an agility course and were awarded rosettes and doggy treats after crossing the finishing line.

Among the dog walkers were pals Wendy Addyson-Smyth, Gillian Franklin and Pauline Leach, who brought along their three Cockapoos, 17-month-old Oscar, 13-month-old Rory and nine-month-old Darcy.

The walk was especially poignant for Mrs Leach, whose husband John died at St Cuthbert’s earlier this year.

Mrs Leach, from Durham City, said: “Although today has been difficult at times, we’ve all thoroughly enjoyed the walk. It’s been great to see so many people taking part and I’ll definitely be doing the walk next year.

“I’ve seen the work that the hospice does for people like John and also my friend Mick Positano, who were both in the hospice, so it’s nice to give something back for the care they received.

“When they got ill, it made us all look differently at life and think about what we could do to help.

“To see everyone doing their bit and raising money for the hospice is amazing.”

Abbey Vets, event sponsors, also took part in the walk.

Christopher Whalley, a partner at the centre, brought along his two Hungarian Wirehaired Vizlas, Tarka and Arwen.

He said: “We’ve really enjoyed the event – we have two centres in Durham and Chester-le-Street so it’s fantastic to see that people from both areas are supporting the hospice.”

Laura Barker, events coordinator at the hospice, said: “This event has been our biggest Paws For A Cause yet and is quickly becoming one of our most loved fund-raisers.

“The atmosphere was fantastic and our dog walkers have raised an incredible amount for the hospice.”

Participants have been asked to send their sponsorship money to the hospice by Friday, November 25.

For more information about St Cuthbert’s Hospice, visit www.stcuthbertshospice.com

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