A special four-legged friend

Members of the Goal-den Girls running group meet Hector, the guide dog they have sponsored with their fundraising efforts.  Pictured Pat Ward. Tricia Ellis and Ann Riley.
Members of the Goal-den Girls running group meet Hector, the guide dog they have sponsored with their fundraising efforts. Pictured Pat Ward. Tricia Ellis and Ann Riley.
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With his big brown eyes and gorgeous blond hair, he’s sure to capture the hearts of all who meet him.

This is Hector, a five-month-old golden retriever puppy, who will one day be making a big difference to the life of someone who is blind or partially-sighted.

Hector is a guide dog, named by over 50s running group The Goal-den Girls, who paid for his first year of training through their fund-raising efforts.

The Fylde coast-based group, which trains around Blackpool’s Stanley Park, made it their mission to raise £5,000 last year for Guide Dogs.

They held various events such as bag packs, an evening with comedian Syd Little and dog walks, as well as their annual 10k fun run, to raise the money.

And they finally got to meet Hector this week.

Tricia Ellis, who set up The Goal-den Girls to get older women running and ready for a marathon in 2012, the Olympic year, said: “Our hearts melted the moment we met Hector.

“He is a lovely puppy, who even at five months old, understands simple commands – which only goes to prove how dedicated his puppy trainer Christine is.

“We are all very proud of the fact one day we will help provide a blind or partially-sighted person with a better quality of life and give them back their independence.

“Already, we have seen and heard from local guide dog users how having a dog makes a difference to them and their families.

“We had great support from the Guide Dogs Association too.

“Margaret Hardman, who works for Guide Dogs, has supported me and the girls every step of the way and attended all the events we had to raise the money, along with John Westmore and his team of local volunteers who have cheered us along on runs, joined us on dog walks, bag-packed and attended an evening with Syd Little at Strawberry Gardens.

“We wish Hector a happy life and we will continue to follow his progress for the next few years, until he is fully trained.”