A Good meeting for dogs veteran

Fred with dog Mill Cameron and handler Kelly Macari. The dog is his first Good Friday runner.
Fred with dog Mill Cameron and handler Kelly Macari. The dog is his first Good Friday runner.
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GREYHOUND veteran Fred Witt is on to a racing certainty this Easter.

The 88-year-old has been cheering on generations of his dogs at racetracks around the North East since he was a teenager.

Fred, from East Boldon, has a particularly long association with Sunderland Greyhound Stadium.

Now he is looking forward to an historic day at the track later this month, when the first Good Friday meeting is staged there.

Fred is planning a family day out to mark the historic occasion, with wife Marjorie and a dozen of their nearest and dearest, including the couple’s three great-grandchildren.

“We have a private box for the day and we’ve got lots of the family going along,” he said.

“We will be cheering on my current best dog Mill Cameron, trained by local handler Kelly Macari.

“I’m hoping he’ll give me my first ever Good Friday winner.”

Former ICI worker Fred’s racing career began soon after the outbreak of the Second World War.

He paid 10 shillings for his first dog, Grindon Miller, but his favourite of all was Davcliff Master, which won 19 open races.

“I have always thought that greyhounds are marvellous dogs,” he said.

“People think it is cruel to race them, but when the hare stops, a lot of the dogs carry on running.

“They just enjoy the running. It’s not cruel.”

This year, for the first time since the track opened its doors in 1937, there will be greyhound racing held at the Sunderland stadium on Good Friday, with a full afternoon card of 12 races, from 1pm to 4pm.

“The Sunderland stadium was open during the war, but just during the afternoons,” said Fred.

“After the war there was more flapping – unlicensed tracks – but Sunderland has really gone from strength to strength in recent years.

“I still try to get there as often as I can.”

Simon Fozzard, sales and marketing manager for Sunderland Greyhound Stadium, in Newcastle Road, said; “Racing on Good Friday is a great opportunity for the track to showcase the excitement of live greyhound racing, and we have come up with some bargain prices to ensure the afternoon out is affordable for a whole family.

“Greyhound racing is a thrilling sport to watch and we are expecting a huge response.”