The Great North Dog Walk will be ‘bark’ in business this weekend - with sights set on another record-smashing success.
Thousands of pet pooches of all breeds, shapes and sizes will be leading the way at the 26th annual extravaganza at The Leas, South Shields on Sunday.
The popular event - which attracted a best-ever haul of 26,423 canines to the borough last year - will be given the civic seal of approval by the deputy mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion, who will be on hand alongside Deputy Mayoress Mary French to start the walk.
The dog walk will have its biggest ever start with eight special guuest chosen to kick off the event, including former mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse and South Shields MP, Emma Lewell-Buck.
Organiser Tony Carlisle, who founded the charity event back in 1990, is hoping it will be the ‘paw’ the merrier as he aims to rewrite the record books yet again.
The former Harton Technology College teacher is eager to raise vital cash for good causes - while celebrating the close links of the animal-loving community.
We’re looking forward to a great family, free day out.Tony Carlisle
The dog walk has raised millions of pounds for charity since it was first let off the leash - and another 34 worthy causes will benefit this year.
Mr Carlisle is joining forces with fellow charity champion Ann Walsh to help drive up funds for the fight against cancer at this year’s event, which is sponsored for the first time by nationwide pet product brand Pedigree.
Dog owners are being urged to raise precious pounds for Mrs Walsh’s annual Relay for Life - a 24-hour event held in aid of Cancer Research UK - with a little help from their pet.
Mr Carlisle said: “There will be 34 charities that will benefit from this year’s dog walk. We are urging people to come along with their dogs and get sponsored for the Relay for Life, which we are calling the Bark for Life.”
Mr Carlisle is delighted that a event which started with just 13 pooches has grown to be the biggest of its kind in the world.
He added; ““The growing popularity of the event, which last year saw 26,423 dogs participating, reflects the community spirit that exists amongst South Tyneside dog owners.
“We’re looking forward to a great family, free day out coupled with raising funds for local charities, and are hoping to beat the world record again this year.”
Coun Olive Punchion, deputy mayor of South Tyneside, added: “This is a fantastic event, which grows in popularity every year
“It’s a highlight of the Borough’s social calendar and an opportunity to showcase our beautiful coastline to people from far and wide.
“It’s also a great fundraiser so I’d encourage as many dog owners as possible to come along with their pets and make it another record-breaking year.”
The walk gets underway at The Leas, South Shields at 10.30am, with registration from 9am.