Schoolchildren were spurred on to reach their target of £1,500 to name a guide dog when they got a surprise visit from a four-legged friend.
Students at St Hild’s Church of England School have already raised £1,000 towards their goal.
And they were encouraged to collect the final £500 when guide dog puppy George and his handler Peter Emmerson paid them a visit.
They were joined by John Hopper, treasurer of the charity’s County Durham fundraising branch, who gave a presentation to Year 7 pupils about the work of guide dogs and what goes into training them.
John said the charity has around 5,000 working dogs and 1,800 in training, and the service costs a total of £50,000 a day to run.
It is hoped that George, a six-month-old ladbrador/golden retriever cross, will ultimately make the grade as a guide dog.
Suzanne Sotheran, head of Year 7 at St Hild’s, said the visit went down well with the children.
She said: “Our pupils have already done so well to raise £1,000 and we felt that George’s visit was a great way of spurring them on towards their target.
“George was so cute and a big hit with all of the pupils. I’d also like to thank John for his informative presentation that really brought home just how important the guide dog service is and how it helps to transform the lives of so many people.”
Guide Dogs is appealing for more volunteers who they rely on to care for the dogs, guide people who are blind or partially sighted, drive or raise funds.
For details go to the charity’s website www.guidedogs.org.uk.