Jollyes Darlington support Bark in the Park

St Teresa’s Hospice Community Support Fundraiser Emily Robson, left, with her dog Pip and Jollyes Darlington Advisor Iona Richings with a Bark in the Park goody bag

Charity walkers are being promised a host of doggy delights as they help a popular hospice fight back from the devastating effects of the pandemic.

Dozens of dog walkers have already signed up for the annual Bark in the Park event, which this year has to be staged virtually, to raise much-needed funds for St Teresa’s Hospice.

And in reward for their efforts they will receive a goody bag courtesy of pet superstore Jollyes, which is again the main sponsor of the event.

Jollyes Darlington Advisor Iona Richings said: “We know very well the brilliant job St Teresa’s Hospice does for local people and we are delighted to back this amazing event. It has been such a tough time for charities during the lockdown so it is great to be able to do something to help.”

St Teresa’s Hospice Community Support Fundraiser Emily Robson added: “Now people are getting a feel for what they are allowed to do as lockdown eases they are beginning to sign up for the event, which is great.”

Instead of packing into Darlington’s South Park en masse, as in pre-pandemic years, fundraisers are being asked to join a virtual challenge any time from Friday April 30 to Monday May 3.

Pets and their owners are invited to complete a sponsored dog walk either around South Park, following the traditional Bark in the Park route, or in their local area.

Participants must follow current Government guidance on COVID-19 and should complete their walk within their social bubbles.

Dogs will also be given a St Teresa’s Hospice bandana and owners will receive matching ears to wear during their walk.

On the South Park route there will be a treasure hunt with entry to a special prize draw for the doggies who find the most booty.

A small entry fee of just £10 covers a family of up to four people and includes a sponsor pack, ears and bandana.

To register online visit www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/bark-in-the-park.

Now in its sixth year, Bark in the Park has raised £50,000 for the hospice since being launched in 2016.

St Teresa’s Hospice Chief Executive Jane Bradshaw added: “I’m sure people taking part in Bark in the Park will also see it as a welcome return to normality as lockdown measures ease.

“There is no getting away from the devastating effect the pandemic has had on our ability to fundraise over the past year and we do hope as many pets as possible will take part in helping us raise as much money as possible.”

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

The pandemic struck hard with the majority of conventional fundraising events having to be cancelled and the closure until now of its chain of popular charity shops.

An emergency appeal, launched at the start of the pandemic, is still running and donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.