Never has the quotation above by Winston Churchill meant more to me than in the last week. I have spent the past 25 years training dogs and their owners. What started as a hobby with a family pet turned quickly and deeply into a passion which then grew into a way of life. And for the last 10 years or so dogs have also been my livelihood. The friends I have made through gundogs and shooting are many and some are very dear to me. In the last week, two of my special doggy friends, Louie and Di have helped do something quite amazing and I can’t thank them enough.
When I launched my fundraising campaign to raise money for Walking With The Wounded (who kindly found me a place to run in the London Marathon) I decided to set my target high in the hope that I might come close to it. As running the Marathon is currently a focus of my mid life crisis what could be better than aiming to raise £100 for each of my 56 years. Adding the naughts onto my age produced an ambitious target, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Straight away I was bowled over by people’s generosity. So many friends as well as my family were quick to support me and I think the fact that I am running for such an amazing and worthwhile charity made the decision to give a little easier to make. The first £1,000 was reached quickly and then slowly but surely the numbers crept up to around the £2,000 mark. A shooting friend, John, who heard on the last day of the season that I was in training for London asked me to contact him and prompt him for sponsorship. I did so, and a wonderful, enormous cheque for £1,000 arrived. Wow!! I felt like I, on behalf of WWTW, had won the lottery.
But the two ladies who have been amazing are my doggy friends, Di of Wylanbriar Gundog Training and Louie from Trainthatdog. Both have trained with me for years. Both have bought puppies from me and gone on to achieve great success in Field Trials. And they have in return supported me by both running charity training days here at Isenhurst for their clients in order to raise money for my Marathon fundraising. A huge amount of work went in to organising these days, all to support me and for the benefit of Walking With The Wounded.
Louie’s day was first and in bright sunshine 30 of her clients and three of her trainers held a brilliant day raising an incredible £1,040 for WWTW and giving me such emotional support that I could already feel the 26.2 miles ticking by.
Yesterday it was the turn of Di and Wylanbriar and although the weather was less kind with the hail so heavy that it looked like snow, her clients were also unbelievably generous and we raised a staggering £1,400. And more donations from friends of trainthatdog and Wylanbriar are still coming in. My goodness me – I am going to shout it to the rooftops: MY GUNDOG FRIENDS ARE AMAZING!!!
Last weekend I reached my fundraising target and as I write this blog my total currently stands at £6,507.90. That is H U G E!! And I am truly humbled. Not only will all that money enable WWTW to fund existing and new projects supporting veterans with physical, mental and social injuries on their journeys to long term security, employment and independence, but it will inspire me to make it all the way to the finish line, just down the road from Buckingham Palace, when I take part in this year’s London Marathon. Those 26.2 miles will be a challenge for me but every day is a challenge for some of our veterans and my fundraising and your generosity will help me and them.
From the bottom of my heart and the blisters on my feet, T H A N K Y O U! And please keep giving. Every donation helps and as Winston said,
“ We can make a life by what we give”