One of the beauty industry’s leading lights has given his backing to a public art projet and has a creation on display in South Tyneside.
Award winning celebrity manicurist and nail technician Leighton Denny MBE – whose famous clients include Penelope Cruz and Kate Moss - has designed one of the 61 pooches that form the Great North Snowdogs trail.
The 1.5m high sculptures follow the route of the Tyne and Wear Metro in a fundraising initiative for Newcastle-based St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice.
And Leighton – whose cosmetics empire includes the recently launched Sun Believable tanning range – used his late rescue dog Rhino as the inspiration for his Snowdog, Rhino The Rescue, at South Marine Park in South Shields.
He said: “Rhino was a pitbull cross and when I got him from a rescue centre in LA he’d clearly had a very hard time. But to me he was lovable rogue and I adored him.
“He came into my life when I really needed a friend and, for all he was a rescue dog, in fact he rescued me – he was my superhero and that’s what inspired my design.”
Now Leighton hopes his sculpture will not only raise a generous sum for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice when the Snowdogs are auctioned off in December, but that he will also highlight the plight of rescue dogs.
He said: “I only had Rhino for about four years but in that time he became the world to me and the tragedy is that rescue centres are full of older dogs that get passed over in favour of puppies.
“I would urge anyone wanting to own a dog to check out their local rescue centre.”