Fundraising is a walk in the park

Every dog had its day as hundreds of pet pooches enjoyed a walk in the park to help raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Four legged fundraisers and their owners turned out in their hundreds for the fourth annual St Teresa’s Hospice Bark in The Park event on Sunday April 28.

An impressive 433 canines and their companions crossed the starting line of the one mile sponsored walk around South Park, Darlington, helping to raise over £10,000 for the hospice.

Walkers from Darlington to Dorset and South Shield to Stoke-on-Trent attended the event which has seen a total of 2,131 dogs take part since 2016, raising in excess of £45,000.

Fundraiser Sue Walker, 63, of Dorset, was accompanied by four-year-old spaniel Bailey.

“I was born in Darlington and come back regularly to see family and friends,” she said.

“We took part in the walk last year and it was wonderful and a great way to help support St Teresa’s.”

The event, sponsored by Jollyes Pet Superstore and supported by Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital, Harringtons, Durham Wildlife Trust, Santander Stockton and Darlo Radio was officially started by St Teresa’s chief executive Jane Bradshaw and deputy mayor Cllr Ian Galletley.

“Once again it is wonderful to see so many perfect pooches and their owners turning out to support St Teresa’s,” said Jane.

“We’ve got beagles and bedlingtons, sausages and spaniels, cockers and collies, spotted and striped, long and short haired, big and small it’s absolutely magnificent.

“As always we are ever grateful for the fantastic backing from our sponsors, and supporters and especially the public who continue to throw their full support behind St Teresa’s.”

All money raised will go towards helping fund the hospice, on Woodland Road, Darlington, which provides free care and support for residents of Darlington, South West Durham and North-Yorkshire who are affected by life-limiting illness.

Event manager Scott Marshall said: “This is my favourite fundraising event of the whole year and worth all the planning and time that goes into it.

“Bark in the Park has proved so popular that we have had a number of enquiries from other hospices nationwide asking how they can organize their own similar event.

“It has been wonderful to see so many people coming together from the local community and beyond to support St Teresa’s.

Certificates for best dressed dog and dog with the waggiest tail were won by terriers Izzy and Rocco and their owners Laura and Megan Lowe, of Barnard Castle, and spaniel Gus with owner Claire Brock, of Darlington.

“We’ve been coming to Bark in the Park for the last two years and Gus absolutely loves it,” said Claire.

“His tail hasn’t stopped wagging since he got here so I’m not surprised he won.

“It has been an absolutely fabulous day.”