DOG walkers turned out to take part in a special cash-boosting stroll in aid of a charity supporting deaf people.
Almost 100 people and their canines braved the wet and windy weather yesterday to walk one of two routes along the cliff tops of Whitburn and Marsden.
The event – The Great British Dog Walk – was organised by charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
The charity helps to train dogs to support people who are deaf in their own home and when out and about.
Joanne Fortune was one of a number of people who took part in the event along with her dog Barney, two.
The 45-year-old from Sunderland, who is deaf, said: “Before Barney was in my life, I felt quite isolated. I was depressed and lonely. I was really frustrated as I felt as if I couldn’t communicate with people.
“There was a huge difference after I got Barney. He is important to me. He has helped me to be more confident and people recognise that I am deaf and come over and talk to me.
“He also helps me so much around the home and he is a very good companion. He is my best friend.”
She added: “I would encourage anyone who can, to support Hearing Dogs for deaf people. They do a great job and really do help to change people’s lives.”
The walk was started by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside Coun Fay Cunningham and Stella Matthewson.
Coun Cunningham said: “It has been absolutely lovely to see so many owners out with so many different breeds of dogs.
“It is such a worthwhile charity and I think it does really need to be brought to the forefront a bit more. It is amazing how much joy a dog can bring to the life of a deaf person.”
For information on the charity contact www.hearingdogs.org.uk.