North East Connected

Pat on the back for fundraisers as hospice asks people to back national 2.6 Challenge

PET owners have been awarded a pat on the back after supporting a virtual dog show which has raised vital funds for a hospice.

St Teresa’s Hospice staged the on-line #StTsPawtraits competition attracting entries from all over the North-East and Yorkshire.

The ingenious initiative was part of an emergency appeal launched as the hospice struggles to endure the coronavirus pandemic which has decimated traditional fundraising events.

Dog owners were asked to make a donation as they posted pictures on social media of their pets, with prizes awarded for best dressed and cutest dogs.

Husky Presley, owned by Steve Rose, of Hartlepool, took the best dressed dog accolade, while Lucy, owned by Eleanor Strangeway, of Tadcaster, took the cutest honours.

The popular event, which replaced the postponed annual Bark in the Park competition, has helped boost the running total of the #hugtoStTeresas emergency appeal ( ) to more than £20,000.

The winners received gift vouchers and goody bags donated by Jollyes, The Pet Superstore Darlington – sponsors of Bark in the Park. Pictures of winning entries can be seen at

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “We cannot thank the community enough for their continued support which is so crucial for us to continue our work.

“I absolutely loved looking through all the wonderful entries and seeing those delightful dogs certainly cheered my day. It’s been a fantastic way to mark the ever popular Bark in the Park, which has now been pencilled-in for Sunday, September 6, at South Park, Darlington.”

Jollyes supervisor Rachel McGargle added: “We love supporting Bark in the Park, it’s a great event that helps raise money for a fantastic charity. There’s always a great atmosphere and we love seeing all the dogs. We are excited to be back for a 3rd year as main sponsors and are looking forward to September.

“The Pawtraits competition entries were amazing. There were some very imaginative ideas for costumes as we saw with the winner, Husky Presley, and, of course, some very cute dogs. All the entries were amazing and we were happy we were able to support the fundraising efforts during these difficult times.”

St Teresa’s Hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

The Government’s emergency response is compensating for some of the lost income from event cancellations and the closure of its charity shops but the hospice is still facing a deficit this year because of the crisis.

The success of the #StTsPawtraits competition has prompted St Teresa’s Hospice to appeal to the wider pet-owning community for more help.

St Teresa’s Hospice has joined the national 2.6 Challenge, due to be launched on Sunday (April 26), the date of the cancelled 40th London Marathon.

The 2.6 Challenge has been created by the organisers of the biggest mass-participation sports event to raise vital funds to help to save the UK’s charities.

Local pet owners can get involved by taking part in an activity of their choice with their pets based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to support St Teresa’s Hospice via

Ideas could include walking their dog 2.6km a day, doing 26 laps of their garden every day for a week, getting sponsorship for doing as many tricks in 26 minutes as possible or any other creative idea.

Anyone can take part and the only requirement is that they follow Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

Many people will take part on Sunday but for the hospice they can do their activity whenever it is most convenient.

Participants can take five simple steps to help:

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