Barking mad... but a purrrfect day!

Left to right, Maureen Cairney, Graham Cairney, Brenda Ryan and Melanie Clark
Left to right, Maureen Cairney, Graham Cairney, Brenda Ryan and Melanie Clark

IT was a case of snowing cats and dogs when brave volunteers took part in a charity dip.

Volunteers from the Stray Aid rescue kennels donned cat and dog costumes to brave the icy North Sea at Seaton Carew to raise vital funds for the cause.

Mel Clark dressed as a dog, her father Graham Cairney wore a Scooby Doo outfit and her mother Maureen and friend Brenda Ryan were just purrfect in cat costumes.

The event held yesterday at noon – the same time that Hartlepool was hit by wintry showers – raised more than £600 for a new vulnerable dogs’ unit at the Coxhoe-based charity.

The charity rehomes dogs that have been picked up by council wardens in east Durham and works to rehouse them in areas including Hartlepool.

Stray-Aid’s chief executive and volunteer John Bielby said: “I couldn’t believe they did it – there was a blizzard going on at the time.

“It made it into an extraordinary event, I think everyone thought they were barmy doing it anyway - then when it was snowing, it was unbelievable.

“I think they are absolutely amazing.

“For somebody to turn up to run in and out of the sea to raise funds for a dog rescue charity is just incredible.

“They were absolutely frozen through.”

Also as part of the event, free dog-chipping for people on low-incomes took place in the Rocket car park.

It was the first time Stray-Aid, which receives 1,300 stray dogs a year, had carried out dog-chipping in Hartlepool, at the request of The Dogs’ Trust.

So far, £7,000 has been raised towards the £12,000 needed for the new unit, with the first of eight kennels already completed.

To donate to the fund visit