Local supporters and businesses came together to ‘Walk for Wag’ at Kielder Water and Forest Park on 23rd September, to raise money to support a North East charity’s work in reducing loneliness in the region’s older people.

Wag & Company North East Friendship Dogs, the only visiting dog charity to befriend elderly neighbours in their own homes as well as in care across our region, welcomed 116 walkers, 77 dogs and 10 children to its third annual Kielder walk, where, based on previous years, it is expected to raise around £10,000.

This year, the charity was delighted to be joined by Northumbria Police Dog Section, in addition to the Hexham Uketeers, a face painter and its guests of honour; Wag Friends who are visited in their own homes, Sheila Moody and John Robson, who each started one of the two walks.

Launched in 2016, the charity now has 221 professionally assessed volunteers who, with their special dogs, are making people smile across the North East.  To date, nearly 30,000 friend visits have been made and over 1,600 vulnerable North East people are benefitting.

Diane Morton, charity director, said: “Despite the forecast, we had amazing weather for our walk, which was hosted by Northumbrian Water and supported by Arco. The atmosphere on the day was great, everyone came together to have a bit of fun, chat to people who benefit from our service and raise money to enable more and more volunteers and their special dogs to visit elderly people across our region.”

Refreshments of chocolate (donated by Nestle in Fawdon), biscuits provided by Ringtons, dog treats from Feelwells, goody bags from Nestle Purina, a ‘Walking for Wag’ t-shirt, bandana and bottled water from Arco were all provided for walkers.  There was also a raffle, including prizes such as a box with corporate hospitality at the Newcastle Falcons and the Newcastle Eagles, and a Barbour jacket, and the very special handmade ‘Wag hats by Sheila’ were available to purchase.

Diane continued: “We can’t thank everyone who was involved enough – the walkers, our volunteers who marshalled, manned stalls, photography and videography, sold raffle tickets and much more. Also, a huge thanks to the team at Kielder Waterside for providing so much help and support. We’re already planning Walk for Wag 2019!”

For more information on Wag & Company see https://www.wagandcompany.co.uk