Welcome to outdoor dog show season.
I love this time of year, and am always flattered by the number of shows I get invited to – as a judge! But don’t panic, I’ve not suddenly become a Kennel Club Crufts-certified judge – I do the fun stuff such as ‘waggiest tail’ and the dog that ‘most looks like its owner’ – and it’s hard enough picking those winners!
If you’ve never been to one of these events then I would strongly advise it, with or without your pet. A quintessentially English escape, with if your lucky, a Sussex countryside backdrop to die for. What’s more, most local shows revolve around just the dogs and kids, providing the ideal atmosphere to kick-back and relax on a day-out for the whole family, dog ‘n’ all.
This Saturday sees one local dog show that I can’t wait to be involved with again, the children’s charity NCH’s annual Fun Dog Show & Garden Party in Ditchling. I’ve been an active supporter of NCH for over a year now, a beautiful charity with my highlight, meeting of fellow NCH supporter – and my teenage heartthrob – Jenny Agutter!
Now this dog show is unlike any other I’ve been to. Imagine being in a scene from the Darling Buds of May and you’re pretty much there. Complete with bric-a-brac, tombola, cucumber sandwiches, and lots and lots of tea, it’s amazing to think that you’re only ten minutes up the road from all the Brighton mentalism.
The dedicated volunteers who organise the event – “The Brighton and Hove Support Group” – have worked tirelessly for the last sixteen years raising funds for NCH; organising concerts, film nights, coffee mornings, and much more. All proceeds from this fantastic day will of course go to NCH who proudly support over 178,000 vulnerable children, young people and their families; affected by homelessness, poverty, abuse, disability and much more.
Local projects include a mentoring and befriending project called “Streetmate” for young people in Haywards Heath, a youth support project in Eastbourne and an adoption service based in Horsham.
All human entrants must be under twelve years of age and classes in this year’s canine event include ‘best groomed dog’ and ‘test of obedience’ – walking to heel, sit, or even (and preferably!) a trick of your choice. There’s also a prize for the dog I would most like to take home which is always a tricky one. So come along this Saturday, support a great national charity and have loads of fun (and tea) doing it – see you there!
NCH Garden Party, Saturday 12th July 2008, 2.30pm – 5.00pm with the Fun Dog Show from 3.30pm; South Tile Barn, Beacon Road, Ditchling, BN6 8XB. Adults £4 (includes parking, tea and light refreshments). Places for the dog show are limited so for an entry form please call Jessica Maybanks on 01273 760 130 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org