Paws for thoughtFOUR legged fundraisers are like dogs with two tails after trebling expectations on a charity walk.

Almost 380 dogs descended on South Park, Darlington, to help St Teresa’s Hospice raise much-needed funds.

But where organisers had hoped to raise about £3,000, the final tally looks set to be closer to £10,000, an effort described as “phenomenal” by the charity’s chief executive Jane Bradshaw.

An official cheque was handed over at the Darlington store of sponsor Pets at Home, a welcome boost as St Teresa’s strives to raise the money needed to fully furnish and equip its brand new 10-bed in-patient unit and cover the hospice’s £2.2m annual running costs.

Attending the ceremony with his wife Gill, Darlington’s mayor Tom Nutt said: “We were there on the day and it was absolutely brilliant. It is great to see the people of Darlington and local businesses support such a worthy cause.”

Sponsored by Pets at Home, Vets4Pets, Pet Pals and Harringtons, the one mile walk took competitors and their pooches on a two circuit route around South Park and formed part of St Teresa’s 30 year anniversary celebrations.

Mrs Bradshaw said: “The whole event was absolutely phenomenal and we were staggered with the level of support.

“It proved to be such a fantastic day that we have already planned Bark in the Park for next April 23. Owners had a great time and all the dogs were so well behaved and loved it and I would like to thanks Pets at Home for taking the lead.”

Pets at Home provided goody bags on the day and Stanhope Park Veterinary Practice raised £700 with a raffle. The event was also supported by 1st Stop Party Shop and Darlington & District Scouts.

Pets at Home manager Mark Deighton said: “I lost my brother recently and know from first-hand experience what an amazing job the hospice movement does for the region.”