GREAT North Dog Walk boss Tony Carlisle says this year’s milestone event is on course to be the biggest and best yet.
The charity champion says entry numbers are ahead of those at this stage in 2014 - when a record-breaking 24,542 four-legged friends took part in the charity extravaganza.
It would be really nice to get 25,000 entries in our 25th year.Tony Carlisle
Mr Carlisle is aiming to attract 25,000 pets in the 25th year of the dog walk, which is held at The Leas, in South Shields, on June 7.
The former Harton Technology College teacher is throwing himself into preparations for the big day, despite battling a series of health problems in recent years.
The dog walk will support 26 good causes this year - 20 dog charities and other six human charities.
The latest charity to be supported at the walk is Brain Tumour Research, while funds will also be raised for worthy organisations such as Northumbria Blood Bikes and Jarrow-based St Clare’s Hospice.
The dog walk has raised an impressive £5.2m for good causes since its launch in 1990.
Mr Carlisle said: “The preparation for the dog walk is very intense.
“I’ve been travelling all over, to Durham and to Cumbria on behalf of the dog walk.
“I am looking forward to the dog walk on June 7 then I will marry my partner, Nicola, on August 15. There is a lot to look forward to.
“Entries are already up on this time last year, when we had a record 24,542 dogs entered.
“It would be really nice to get to 25,000 in our 25th year.
“The dog walk is all about helping charities and raising the profile of the borough.”
While rain won’t stop play - Mr Carlisle is hoping for a sunny June day to bolster entry numbers even further.
This year’s Great North Dog Walk will be let off the leash on Sunday, June 7.
For more information and the walk and to sign up your pets, log onto www.greatnorthdogwalk.co.uk