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South of England Papillons Walk for MacMillan Charity

Catherine Fleuret (centre) from Macmillan Cancer Trust accepting a cheque for £2193.50 from Anne Borg, Assistant Secretary & event organiser of the South of England Papillon Club (right) and a fellow club member (left)

Papillons from all over the south of England, members of the newly-formed South of England Papillon Club, gathered on the Berkshire Ridgeway on 25 April - a beautiful spring Sunday - to walk in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund writes Hon Sec Philip Shirley.

What a sight it was! Forty walkers, with upwards of 80 Papillons, plus a Pomeranian, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, two miniature Dachshunds and a Corgi (it was rumoured that a Bedlington Terrier would be attending, but this did not materialise: she had come into season the night before - ‘She’ll do anything to avoid a walk!’, said her owner) turned up, ready and eager to go.

The Ridgeway was beautiful - spring green everywhere, blue sky, hazy sun and a light breeze. Green and white helium-filled balloons, displaying the Macmillan logo, bobbed about, showing the aim of the exercise to all who wondered what on earth was going on! After a photograph was taken to mark the event, dogs, owners and balloons streamed off to the first furlong marker and soon disappeared out of sight, to reappear (the dogs as dancing dots!) on the far hill which marked the mile-post; returning about half-an-hour later, hotter and ready for a drink.

It was such an easy and enjoyable thing to do: the dogs walked (well, ran and jumped, as Papillons do), the owners chatted, the sun shone, the larks sang - what more could anyone want! When all the sponsorship money was collected and counted at the village hall later, we found we had raised an amazing £2,193.50! We presented our giant-size cheque to the young Macmillan representative, Catherine Fleuret, who had sportingly joined in the Walk with us and enjoyed taking (or being taken by) an obliging Papillon!

After a well-earned lunch, we were entertained (and instructed!) with two talks (under the title ‘Papillons Do Other Things!’ - i.e., not just walk round show-rings). Eileen Clayton showed lovely slides of Papillons engaged in Mountain Rescue in the Welsh mountains and accompanying groups of children at her Study Centre, and one Papillon who was a faithful and wonderful companion for a small boy who had cancer: Denise Welsh showed videos of Agility competitions and introduced her Agility dogs, including well-known ‘Harley the Magnificent’. Finally we met Roddy, Papillon Hearing Dog for the Deaf, and his owner, Doreen Amos: Doreen and Roddy had talked to some people on the Walk, but we would like to invite her back some time in the future to hear more about Roddy and his work and training. Then to our first AGM, a short and jolly affair, and then to a ‘Cream Tea’, financed by our most generous Patron, Sue Jones, and, after everyone had turned to and helped with the mammoth clearing-up, back home after our first official Event!