Meet Selsey, the six-week-old Guide Dog puppy which is being officially sponsored by a Darlington business owner.

Derek Lancaster, who runs oven valeting company Ovenu Darlington, is supporting Selsey through her training until she becomes a fully qualified guide dog at around two years of age.

The black Labrador – who has six siblings Cosmo, Peegee, Dougall, Polly, Jessie, and Billy – was recently placed with a puppy raiser who will start to teach her the skills essential to become a future guide dog.

Derek, a former Sergeant Chef in the RAF, said: “The past 12 months have been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, not least Guide Dogs, which has experienced a fall in income due to the pandemic.

“As a business owner I want to give something back by supporting a charity that helps provide life-changing independence and freedom to blind and partially sighted people.

“It’s also a way of saying a huge thank you to my clients who, without their continued support, I would not be in a position to sponsor this cute ball of fluff!”

As well as Darlington, the business also covers Bedale, Leyburn, Northallerton, Richmond, Catterick Garrison, Barnard Castle, Newton Aycliffe, and Bishop Auckland

Victoria Noyce-Guthrie of Guide Dogs said: “We rely on donations and Ovenu’s kind support will allow us to make a life changing difference to someone living with sight loss, by providing a guide dog.

“We hope that during these difficult times the news of Selsey being born and the pupdates about her training journey will be something positive to look forward to.”

Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of the Ovenu franchise, said: “I’m delighted that Derek is supporting such a wonderful and deserving charity and I’m sure his clients will be interested to follow Selsey’s progress.”

Ovenu Darlington continues to accept bookings at its discretion, with the strict stipulation that both parties observe the two-metre social distancing rule, along with guidelines on hygiene and cleanliness.

For a free quote, call Derek on 01325 540002, email darlington@ovenu.co.ukor visit https://www.ovenu.co.uk/oven_cleaning/darlington/

For details on naming and sponsoring a guide dog puppy please visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/nameapuppy

Ovenu has also set up a Just Giving page that allows clients to make further donations to Guide Dogs at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ovenuforguidedogs