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Dogs give a helping hound for heroes

PUBLISHED: 11:43 19 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:14 07 July 2010

The Light Dragoons Army regiment at Swanton Morley, friends and family are all supporting the Norfolk Dog Day in aid of Help For Heroes.

The Light Dragoons Army regiment at Swanton Morley, friends and family are all supporting the Norfolk Dog Day in aid of Help For Heroes.

Ian Clarke

It's an event aiming to raise £25,000 to help our military heroes serving our country around the world.

And soldiers, their families - and of course their canine chums - from a local Army regiment have given their backing to Norfolk's first Dog Day.

It's an event aiming to raise £25,000 to help our military heroes serving our country around the world.

And soldiers, their families - and of course their canine chums - from a local Army regiment have given their backing to Norfolk's first Dog Day.

Up to 7000 people and more than 800 four-legged friends are set to descend on the picturesque surroundings of Sennowe Park at Guist, near Fakenham, on Sunday August 9 for the EDP-supported day of fun and fund-raising.

Help For Heroes - which helps injured servicemen and women - will benefit from the event and has been boosted by the support from the Light Dragoons based at Swanton Morley, near Dereham.

About 340 personnel from the Robertson Barracks base are currently in Afghanistan, with a rear party of just 50 left behind, along with all the relatives.

Regiment welfare officer Capt Mick Reed said: “For families left behind the dogs are their companions. It gives you someone to be with in your house when you are on your own and dog walking around the camp is a social event.

“Help For Heroes is a great organisation and it does a superb job for those injured and the Dog Day will be a great event.”

Vicky Lester's husband Stuart is away in Afghanistan and she has a 10 and a half month black labrador called Ellie and a nine-year-old lab/German Shepherd called Sadie.

“When the house is empty and your husband is away it is great to have dogs. It is also very sociable to walk dogs and bump into people.”

Vix Willis' husband Major Hugo Willis of the King's Royal Hussars and is attached to the Light Dragoons in Afghanistan.

She used to work for Help For Heroes at Tidworth and the offices were dog parlours.

“Dogs play a really important role in the Army and give a real sense of security to us and the routine of dog walking really helps deal with the separation.”

Mrs Willis has two Irish setters called Fergus, three, and Tara, four.

Norfolk Dog Day committee member Fee Sharples said: “The event has really taken off and there has been a real groundswell of enthusiasm for it.”

Pedigree Chum has given 850 dog toys, which will be given to every dog which attends.

Website: www.norfolkdogday.co.uk.

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