Local life-transforming assistance dog charity to appear on national television appeal with Olympian Iwan Thomas

LOCAL Midhurst-based assistance dog charity Canine Partners is set to appear on a national television appeal this weekend.

The appeal, which airs on BBC One on Sunday 29 March, will be presented by Olympian Iwan Thomas MBE and will also feature heartwarming stories of beneficiaries of the charity.

The appeal comes at a time when Canine Partners, which trains assistance dogs to transform the lives of people with physical disabilities, is celebrating its 30th year and needs support now, more than ever, due to the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on vital income.

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

“We’ve been building life-transforming partnerships for 30 years but there is still so much more we could do,” says Nicola Martin, Chief Executive of Canine Partners.

“With support for this appeal we will be able to continue to transform lives for the next 30 years and to open the doors to the opportunity of having an amazing assistance dog to even more people living with physical disabilities across the UK.”

The appeal aims to enable Canine Partners to continue transforming the lives of people like Jackie Topp, who was partnered with canine partner Babs, a chocolate Labrador, in July 2015.

“She’s my reason for getting up in the morning and my reason for going out, she makes me get out and talk to people and to get fresh air, otherwise I wouldn’t go out at all,” says 57-year-old Jackie, who has a degenerative condition called Multiple Sclerosis.

“I can’t imagine life without Babs now and I don’t know what I would do without her.”

The charity is calling for supporters to raise awareness of the appeal by sharing its posts on social media and helping to spread the word.

Watch the Canine Partners’ BBC Lifeline Appeal at 1:50pm on Sunday 29 March 2020 on BBC One.

To find out more about Canine Partners’ BBC Lifeline Appeal, please visit caninepartners.org.uk/bbclifeline

To find out more about BBC Lifeline, please visit bbc.co.uk/lifeline

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