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Dog Day star Phyllis prepares to show her pedigree

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 July 2010 | UPDATED: 10:19 01 August 2010

All ready for Norfolk Dog Day. Picture: Jerry Daws

All ready for Norfolk Dog Day. Picture: Jerry Daws

Ian Clarke

Phyllis the black labrador is honorary guest at the 2010 Norfolk Day and is set to be joined by more than 1,000 canine chums and around 15,000 people at Sennowe Park, near Fakenham, on Sunday August 8.

The Lady President and her fellow four-legged friends warmly invite you to join them at the waggiest, furriest and most fun event this summer.

Phyllis the black labrador is honorary guest at the 2010 Norfolk Day and is set to be joined by more than 1,000 canine chums and around 15,000 people at Sennowe Park, near Fakenham, on Sunday August 8.

She is owned by former head of the British Army General Sir Richard Dannatt and his wife Lady Dannatt - who live near Norwich - and perfectly behaved Phyllis set the example at a lively photocall at Sennowe to promote the event, which is supported by the EDP and Bidwells.

Last year's first Dog Day raised £85,000 for Help for Heroes, which supports wounded troops.

Lady Dannatt said: “It will be a fun day with a real purpose. Please go on supporting our servicemen as they need it as never before. The number of casualties has been staggeringly tragic and it is not getting any easier.

“For ever one killed, we see five to six seriously injured.”

Sir Richard said: “This event emphasises the great British tradition of dog ownership, something that is particularly popular in service families. This event is raising money to support individual wounded soldiers as he or she progresses along the road to recovery and will fund courses and opportunities that will equip them for their futures.”

Highlights of the canine festival include eight fun dog classes, including dog with the waggiest tail, plus dog demonstrations, terrier racing, dog dashes, gun dog scurry, agility classes, children's entertainment, 60 trade stands, food and drink stands, tombola, raffle and a silent auction with an array of “money can't buy” prizes.

The day will finish with a spectacular closing ceremony.

Dog Day committee member Fee Sharples said there would be 250 volunteers helping on the day and added: “It will probably be the happiest and most fun day this summer.”

Dog classes will be judged by a well known personality, a wounded soldier who has received support from Help for Heroes and a class sponsor.

Among the judges will be poet Pam Ayres, who said: “I always love visiting Norfolk and am looking forward tremendously to this Dog Day. I love dogs and as a child, nagged my parents for one for 10 years. Finally worn down, dad brought home a knobbly brown bitch abandoned as a stray. She delighted him by having twelve puppies a week later. Mum and I had the mother of all stand-up rows as I did not see why we couldn't keep 13 dogs in our council house. These days we have two dogs, a rehomed Munsterlander and a fat, crabby Jack Russell. We wouldn't be without either of them.

“I think Help For Heroes has brought our country together in an astonishing and most moving way. It is so hard to see these young men brought home injured, particularly when we have sons of our own and I will do anything, short of jumping through a series of hoops (the knees you know) to help on the day.”

The August edition of the EDP Norfolk magazine - which is now on sale - has an extract of Pam's poem The Dog Who Didn't Win A Prize.

Norfolk-born national TV weather girl Becky Mantin - who is expecting her first baby - is also featured in the magazine.

She will judge the old age pooches class and said it would remind her of her childhood pet Max.

“He was 16 when he died and was absolutely the love of my life,” said Becky, who described Help For Heroes as an “amazingly important” charity.

BBC Look East presenter Susie Fowler Watt has devoted her column in the magazine to Dog Day and she movingly reveals how she believes her beloved dog Tiggy “sealed the deal” in bringing out her maternal instincts as she became pregnant during IVF treatment.

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