Doncaster woman triumphs to support special dogs

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Big-hearted Angela Cooke shrugged off her disability to complete a 28-mile trail in aid of a charity she herself relies on.

Angela, who has a number of health issues caused by diabetic complications and hypermobility, relies on her support dog Freya to enable her to lead an independent life in Doncaster.

But although she struggles to walk and often needs a wheelchair to get about, Angela completed 28 miles of the Taff Trail in South Wales this year, raising almost £400 for the charity that transformed her life.

In turn, she was awarded Client Fundraiser of the Year by the national charity, Support Dogs. South Yorkshire-based Support Dogs provides and trains assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disability.

“My health is getting worse and as it’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of Support Dogs this year I wanted to do something special,” said Angela, who is Welsh. “The Taff Trail runs for about 50 miles and I knew I couldn’t manage all that so I thought I’d start as near to my old home as possible.”

Supported by husband Peter, son Daniel and carer Angie, Angela started the trail at Merthyr Tydfil, walking and being wheeled for 28 miles in just four days – a massive achievement!

“I’d never managed to raise a decent amount for Support Dogs before although I’d done coffee mornings and table top sales – so this was it! I had a real sense of achievement,” said Angela. “Freya and I had a great time. I’m still buzzing.”

Yellow Labrador Freya is her second helper from Support Dogs, giving her much more independence.

As well as being a long-time client of Support Dogs, Angela is devoted to the charity, and has her hair dyed the same blue as the dogs’ jackets to raise awareness of its work.

Fundraising manager for Support Dogs, Danny Anderson, said: “We’re really grateful to Angela. She knows better than most the difference our dogs can make, enabling people to live more fulfilled, independent lives.” Angela received her award at the Support Dogs’ annual Graduation and Awards ceremony in Sheffield.