(Updated 15/8/01)

Pets As Therapy / Pro Dogs

What a week we had during GMTV’s Get Up & Give Appeal. Four pre-recorded films had been made, of PAT dogs doing their work in Hospitals and other establishments. These were shown each day throughout the week and each of the five beneficiary charities were allocated a ‘special’ feature day for that specific charity, with Friday, the last day being allotted to Pets As Therapy.

All funds raised by the appeal are to be split equally between the five charities - Pets As Therapy, CLAPA (Cleft Lip & Palate Association), The Haemophilia Society, DeafBlind UK and The Children’s Hospice Association.

Throughout the week all sorts of fund raising events had been organised in all parts of the U.K. Everything from coffee mornings to Bunjee jumps, sponsored bike rides, bucket collections and a week long party. More about this one later. All this as well as pledges being taken by telephone in the the GMTV studio and the B.T. Tower. The GMTV presenters threw themselves into fund raising with Lorraine Kelly taking part in The King and I and Fiona Phillips cleaning out the Gorilla enclosures in a zoo.

A few months ago the Northern Pets As Therapy Committee sat at a meeting thinking of fund raising ideas to help the appeal. It sounded quite simple when I said it - “Let’s hold a week long party in the Metro Centre Shopping Complex in Gateshead, with all kinds of entertainment, including Parades of PAT dogs every and PAT dogs to help collectors bring in the funds”. The Metro Centre management were delighted to help and gave us free rein to use their exhibition square for the whole week. We must say a special ‘thank you’ to their security department and also the Technical Department who dealt with the sound system etc. We then hit ‘red tape’. Gateshead Council had no precedent for collecting for 5 charities. Eventually this problem was overcome by GMTV, the Council, The Metro Centre and Pets As Therapy all working together. The next task was to organise entertainers from 10 a.m. every morning till 9 p.m. every night, not an easy task and I must say a huge thank you to Pets As Therapy area co-ordinator and volunteer Andrea Prince who’s help was invaluable in this. The night before the appeal began, several volunteers arrived at The Metro Centre to decorate Exhibition Square with balloons and decorations. It really did look as though a property party was taking place. My thanks to Abbi & Steve Adair, Terry & Tom Bolan, Gill & Terry Pearson and Andrea Prince.

The first day of the appeal arrived and GMTV started their coverage. Our week long party started with Mr Twister, the Balloon Man, who has to be seen to be believed. We continued with dozens of entertainers throughout the week - a steel band, singers, line dancers, a brass band, accordion band, very modern singers & dancers, highland piper, dancing schools, The Ryton Dog Display Team, a Theatrical Academy, Beatles Band, Rock group, Country Group, the list goes on and even includes a display of bandaging by Vet Nurse and PAT volunteer Tracey Taylor. Also featured every day was a special Parade of PAT dogs. A Huge ‘thank you’ must go to Terry Pearson the Northern Pets As Therapy Treasurer, who acted as compare all week, and who really must be in line to host his own show on GMTV!!

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A special PAT dog day on the Friday included a live link from the GMTV studio to HMS Warrior in Portsmouth where a charity breakfast in aid of Get Up & Give was taking place. I was lucky enough to be on board The Warrior, looking after our PAT dog of the year, Toy Poodle Katie, her owner Beryl Jordon and Emma Doree and her family. Emma had been featured in one of the GMTV Get Up & Give films and Katie is the PAT dog that has changed the lives of not only Emma but the whole Doree family. Nine year old Emma met television personalities and coped with live interviews like a professional.

Emma Doree & her sister Laura meet RAF dog Arnie who represented
Pets As Therapy in the PAT Dog Derby on board HMS Warrior


There was a PAT dog Derby with working RAF dogs running a timed race on the ship’s deck. Once the programme ended I jumped on a train and headed North arriving back a Gateshead Metro Centre late afternoon in time to join the last day of the week long Northern Party.

It would be impossible to list all those who helped during Get Up & Give week but many thanks to all who were involved. At the end of the week The metro Centre event had raised £6185. The National total, which is constantly rising to date stands at 601,073. Thank you to all who contributed. It was certainly a week to remember.

Maureen Hennis

 


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