Hundreds of supporters and guests joined clients and canines at the Sheffield charity Support Dogs 25th anniversary garden party.
Hosted by the city charity’s newest patrons, the Earl and Countess of Scarbrough, the celebration was held in the magnificent grounds of Sandbeck Park, a stately home near Maltby.
The timing of the anniversary party was particularly poignant, as it was exactly 10 years to the day since Support Dogs’ training centre was devastated by the Sheffield Flood, and the charity was almost forced to close its doors for good.
“Because of Support Dogs’ training centre’s position in Brightside, right next to the River Don it was particularly badly affected,” said Danny Anderson, fundraising manager for the charity.
“As the banks of the river burst, it completely flooded the training centre and office, causing a brick wall to collapse.
“While dogs, clients and staff escaped unharmed, the damage, both physically and financially to the charity was substantial.
“It took almost a year to recover and rebuild, thanks largely to the generosity of the public in response to the Flood Disaster Appeal, and the support of South Yorkshire Police Dog training school, which offered the charity the use of their training facilities while the training centre was rebuilt.
“The flood was almost the end of Support Dogs, but 10 years on, thanks to everyone who helped us during and since that time, we’ve gone from strength to strength.”
The Star launched its Pounds For Pups campaign earlier this year, to highlight the excellent work Support Dogs is doing in the city, and across the region. We’re asking our readers to help us raise £5,000 towards one dog’s training – and to help to change somebody’s life in the process.
Through its three training programmes – for disability support dogs, autism dogs and seizure alert dogs – the charity uses an entirely reward-based system to teach special dogs to carry out a wide range of tasks that make life safer and easier for its clients.
Lord Scarbrough said: “Support Dogs completely transform people’s lives, and we are very proud to have a national charity like this in our region. .”
Support Dogs’ chief executive Rita Howson also paid tribute at the event to the hard work of all the staff and volunteers, which enabled the charity to rise from the flood waters a decade ago to become the national force it is today, with 250 successful assistance dog partnerships.
“The impact of our work is just as life-changing as it was 25 years ago, yet as awareness increases, so does demand,” she said. “Over the next 25 years we want to grow and greatly increase our capacity to help more people. We’re very grateful to everyone who helped us reach this milestone.
“Support Dogs began, from a small hut in the grounds of a cottage hospital, with the simple aim of training dogs to improve lives of those affected by significant medical conditions. Twenty-five years later, to be celebrating our work in such a wonderful setting is amazing.”
* Visit Support Dogs to find out more about how you can help us reach our £5,000 goal. Alternatively, text SDOG15 – and the amount you’d like to give to 70070, or call 0114 2617800.
Your chance to come meet our canine pals
The Star has teamed up with Kenwood Hall Hotel to invite readers to an extra special afternoon tea, with some of the Support Dogs.
The hotel team is offering a 25 per cent discount off afternoon tea to every reader for £10.50.
Half of that will go straight to the charity.
The event will take place on Friday, July 21, in the hotel’s Lakeview suite.
To book a place call the hotel’s sales office between 9am and 5pm on 0114 2505635 or the reception out of office hours on 0114 2583811. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to book. Payment will be taken at the time of booking.
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