Lancaster carol service raises vital funds to train an amazing assistance dog

A carol service held to raise vital funds for national assistance dog charity Canine Partners has raised enough money to create a new partnership and to support it throughout its working lifetime.

The service was held at the Lancaster Priory on Thursday 6 December and featured carols, readings by the High Sheriff of Lancashire, the Mayor of Lancaster and local actress Christine Mackie, and a demonstration by the Canine Partners Demonstration Team.

Canine Partners is a national charity that trains amazing assistance dogs to transform the lives of people with disabilities, boosting their confidence and independence.

The dogs are taught a range of everyday tasks including picking up and fetching items, opening doors and undressing a person. They can even help to load and unload a washing machine and they can fetch help in an emergency.

“I am thrilled to announce that the Canine Partners North West Carol Service has raised over £23,000 thanks to overwhelming local support and sponsorship,” says Sarah Cleaver, organiser of the event.

“This means that another life-changing partnership is now possible and in recognition of the local support Canine Partners will name the new puppy Lancaster.”

Events like carol services are vital for raising awareness of the charity’s life-transforming work.

“We wanted to light Lancaster up purple, which is the charity brand colour, and the Priory was the perfect place to do it, especially for a Christmas carol service,” says Cat Howourth, Events Fundraiser for Canine Partners.

“It is the best time to bring people together.”

Natalie Preston, who was partnered with canine partner Faye in July 2013, gave a heart-warming talk on how their partnership has transformed her life.

“I was born with cerebral palsy and when I was diagnosed the doctors told my parents there was no hope for me,” says Natalie.

“It is thanks to Faye that I have a life and a future to look forward to, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face knowing my best friend is always there by my side ready to help no matter what.”

The event raised enough vital funds to train an amazing assistance dog from puppyhood through to retirement, which costs £20,000.

For more information about Canine Partners and to donate please visit

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