Dog walkers take the lead to help the deaf

DOG WALKERS...  left to right, Jessica Heyworth, Mayor Coun  Fay Cunningham, Gayle Griffiths, Mayoress Stella Matthewson, Pam Laird. Front, Tilly Phillips, with dad Gary Goldsack and dog Minnie. Left, Joanne Fortune, with dog Barney.
DOG WALKERS... left to right, Jessica Heyworth, Mayor Coun Fay Cunningham, Gayle Griffiths, Mayoress Stella Matthewson, Pam Laird. Front, Tilly Phillips, with dad Gary Goldsack and dog Minnie. Left, Joanne Fortune, with dog Barney.
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DOG walkers turned out in their scores to take part in a special cash-boosting stroll in aid of a charity supporting deaf people.

Almost 100 people and their pet pooches braved wet and windy weather yesterday to walk one of two routes along the clifftops of Whitburn and Marsden.

I would encourage anyone who can to support Hearing Dogs for deaf people. They do a great job and help to change people’s lives.

Joanne Fortune

The event, named The Great British Dog Walk, was organised by charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

The charity helps to train dogs to support deaf people in their own home and when they’re out and about.

Joanne Fortune took part in the event along with her two-year-old dog Barney.

The 45-year-old from Sunderland, who is deaf, said: “Before Barney was in my life, I felt quite isolated. I was depressed and lonely. I was really frustrated, as I felt as if I couldn’t communicate with people.

“There was a huge difference after I got Barney. He is so important to me. He has helped me to be more confident, and people recognise that I am deaf and come over and talk to me.

“He also helps me so much around the home, and he is a very good companion. He is my best friend.

“I would encourage anyone who can to support Hearing Dogs for deaf people. They do a great job and help to change people’s lives.”

The walk was started by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham and Stella Matthewson.

Coun Cunningham said: “It has been absolutely lovely to see so many owners out with so many different breeds of dogs.

“It is such a worthwhile charity, and I think it does really need to be brought to the forefront a bit more.

“It is amazing how much joy a dog can bring to the life of a deaf person.”

For information on the charity visit its website HERE.

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