Join a furry festive walk to help people with autism, epilepsy and disability

Santa Paws: autism assistance client Jacob Brailsford and his mum Rachel MargerrisonSanta Paws: autism assistance client Jacob Brailsford and his mum Rachel Margerrison
Santa Paws: autism assistance client Jacob Brailsford and his mum Rachel Margerrison
Festive fun is set to be unleashed when a charity hosts its annual Christmas walk.

Sheffield-based Support Dogs, a national charity which provides and trains assistance dogs to help autistic children and adults with epilepsy or physical disability to live safer, more independent lives, is hosting its popular Santa Paws Walk.

It takes place at the city’s Endcliffe Park, starting and ending at the park café, on Sunday, December 10.

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All who take part – whether two or four-legged - will be contributing to ensure the charity can continue its vital, life-changing work.

autism assistance client Jacob Brailsfordautism assistance client Jacob Brailsford
autism assistance client Jacob Brailsford

For the first six years of his life, nine-year-old Jacob Brailsford, who is autistic, would only visit a supermarket if he was sat in a shopping trolley, hidden under a coat.

He and his support dog Jai Jayy – who has helped bring calm and happiness to the once-anxious youngster - will be joining in.

Jacob’s mum, Rachel Margerrison, of Ecclesfield, said: “Jai-Jayy has altered all our lives, especially Jacob, who is able to go out in crowds and to events, with less anxiety than before.

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“The training and commitment from all the workers at Support Dogs is exceptional. The continuing support to the families is worth every penny we can raise for them. Jai-Jayy is truly a full member of our family.”

The walk will follow a route through the stunning Porter Valley along paths and trails.

There are two routes – an 8km walk on compacted woodland trails or a 3km fully-accessible tarmac route – to choose from.

And with a children’s activity trail new for 2023 and paths suitable for little legs, there's plenty for all the family to get in the festive spirit.

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There will also be music from Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union Band and University of Sheffield Singers’ Society.

Tess Thompson, Support Dogs’ community fundraising manager, said: “What better way to blow away the cobwebs this festive season than getting out and about in the beautiful Porter Valley with our charity’s supporters?

“Some of our amazing support dogs will also be joining us and proceeds will go towards training our dogs to continue transforming lives.”

Registration is from 10am, with the walk starting at 11am and way-markers to follow along the route.

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People can enter as an individual, team or family and family and team entry discounts are available at the event, sponsored by Burns Pet Nutrition and Vamoosh Pet Hair Dissolver.

All human participants will receive a Santa hat, and everyone will be rewarded with cake at the end.

Any doggy participants will receive a doggy goody bag.

To book your tickets, visit or email [email protected]