Bark in the Park 2020 cancelled

A charity dog walk has been stopped in its tracks because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 – potentially losing a hospice thousands of pounds in donations.

St Teresa’s Hospice’s Bark in the Park, which attracts thousands of pets and their owners from across the region, has had to be cancelled.

The annual event is a major fundraiser for the hospice, whose finances have been decimated by the pandemic.

St Teresa’s Hospice Chief Executive Jane Bradshaw said: “It’s with a heavy heart and our ears down that we have to announce the cancellation of Bark in the Park.

“The ongoing impact of COVID-19 means there is still so much uncertainty around the staging of large community events. Thanks to owners’ support Bark in the Park regularly attracts thousands of people and raises around £10,000. But it is simply impossible for an event of this scale to take place safely at this time.

“We have explored various options before coming to this difficult decision and we are as disappointed as anyone because we know that so many people look forward to taking part each year.”

Mrs Bradshaw said: “I’d like to thank everyone so much for their patience and for their continued support. We remain so grateful as well to our sponsor, Jollyes The Pet Superstore Darlington, and don’t forget to check our Facebook page for the latest news and updates. We will announce the date for the 2021 Bark in the Park as soon as we possibly can.”

St Teresa’s Hospice needs to raise over £3m a year to provide free day, in-patient and community care, as well as family support and bereavement counselling, for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

So to help – and to get tails wagging again – pet owners are being urged to help raise donations by taking part in a virtual Bark in the Park event.

Details of the virtual challenge will be announced on Friday 10th July, via the St Teresa’s Hospice Facebook Page.

Owners will have until Sunday, September 6, the date the event should have taken place, to set themselves a target to achieve with their pet then raise sponsorship for accomplishing it.

Donations to the Hospice’s emergency appeal can still be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.