Great North Dog Walk boss Tony Carlisle is appealing to businesses in the borough to take on a pet project – as he starts a hunt for a new lead sponsor.
The annual charity extravaganza marked its milestone 25th anniversary in record-breaking style in June, with a best-ever field of 26,423 four-legged friends putting their paws on the start line at The Leas, in South Shields.
Event backers Pets at Home have chosen to end their five-year partnership on a high, leaving Mr Carlisle on the look-out for support.
Mr Carlisle says the sponsorship deal with the nationwide chain was brought to an ‘expected’ and amicable’ close.
Mr Carlisle said: “Pets at Home have been our main sponsor for five years.
“We agreed it would be for five years and that has come to an end.
I want to bring the dog walk back homeTony Carlisle
“It was expected and it has been amicable.
“We still have our other sponsors, such as The Little Haven Hotel.
“Pets at Home have got a marketing budget to keep to and have other ideas they want to pursue.
“It was a fantastic five years and they said they were over the moon to be involved in another record and have wished me the very best.
“We have got to move on and I have nothing but good things to say about Pets at Home.
The former Harton Technology College teacher, who set up the ever-popular event in 1990, is eager to bring the walk ‘back home’ by securing sponsorship from a business in the region – and kick-starting a new era of success for a walk which has raised millions of pounds for good causes in its history.
He added: “I have always said I want to bring the dog walk back home.
“It would be great to get a sponsor from South Tyneside or at least in the North East on board.
“I want to get a new sponsor finalised as soon as possible so I can start preparations for the next walk.
“We wil be in our 26th year and we are continuing to grow every year.
“We are getting people coming to the borough to take part from all over the world.”
Businesses who are keen to sponsor next year’s walk can contact Mr Carlisle on 07957249799 or email him at email@example.com.