Go walkies for guide dogs

Al Winton (left) and Richard Sewell, of Guide Dogs for the Blind, next to some of the classic cars that will be on show at next week's event
Al Winton (left) and Richard Sewell, of Guide Dogs for the Blind, next to some of the classic cars that will be on show at next week's event

FOUR-LEGGED friends are being invited to a charity funday being held to help man’s best friend.

The Hartlepool and Seaton Carew branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind is hosting Go Walkies on the Seaton promenade this Sunday, from 10am-4pm.

As well as a host of entertainment, there will also be a one-mile sponsored dog walk in aid of the charity, with more than 100 dogs and their owners expected to take part on a drop-in basis between 11am and 3pm.

Branch secretary Al Winton, 68, will be walking with his seven-year-old guide dog Gypsy, who he describes as “my independence and my mobility”.

There will be two main arenas in the area off Coronation Drive, with one featuring dog agility displays, in which the public and their pooches can take part.

The other arena will boast a host of entertainment, including a jazz band, Hartlepool’s newest all-female choir, the 20-strong Mum’s The Word, a comedian and a display by Hartlepool Gymnastics Club.

There will also be 30 vintage cars on show, fairground rides, face-painting, an Army display, paintball, a visit from Cleveland Fire Brigade and Cleveland Police horses and a road safety simulator from the Government’s Road Respect campaign. Other highlights include a visit from alpacas, meerkats, snakes and poisonous spiders.

There will also be a dog show featuring prizes for waggiest tail, best behaved dog and other categories, as well as a raffle, with first prize of £100 Pets at Home vouchers and £50 vouchers from the store for two runners-up, as well as a prize of six months supply of dog food.

Dog participants will also receive a goody bag and there will be various food stalls.

Mr Winton said: “We went to the Great North Dog Walk in Gateshead, which had up to 20,000 dogs taking part in aid of various charities and I thought ‘hang on, what a good way to raise funds’.”

He thanked Selina Wilson from the town’s branch of Tesco for donating prizes and helping to promote the event.

Mr Winton added: “Our volunteer branch is made up of guide dog owners who can’t see.

“It’s the sighted volunteers who help us that are fantastic, without them we wouldn’t be able to do these events.”

There are 12 working dogs in Hartlepool and the cost of a guide dog from being born until retirement aged 10 is £49,000.

Sponsor forms are available on the day or by calling Mr Winton on (01429) 267777.

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