From East Bergholt to Buckingham Palace - how two dogs captured hearts
- Credit: Denise Bradley
A pair of Schnauzers have become icons of a Suffolk village after their lockdown antics captured the hearts of many.
Mr Noodles and his best friend Wilfred Humphrey, along with their owner Graham Reed, have been keeping the village of East Bergholt going through the past year.
Before lockdown the Schnauzers were just two normal dogs who went for walks around the village.
"I never promoted them," said Mr Reed.
"But I took good pictures of them."
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However, everything changed when the first lockdown came in March 2020 and the trio became stars of the local Facebook page.
"I think it was the first morning of lockdown," said Mr Reed.
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"The boys just jumped up on a bench. They sat either end of it and it was almost like they were sat two metres apart."
Mr Reed, who works in marketing, saw an opportunity.
"I thought that's topical, I'll take a picture of that," said Mr Reed.
He posted the picture online and received a positive response.
"It was like a lightbulb moment," he said.
Mr Reed kept taking pictures of his pooches sat two metres apart in different places.
"I think when it started it gave me a bit of purpose," said Mr Reed.
"To get up and walk these dogs to get a creative picture and for me to share it."
The pictures then started to get shared more widely.
"After a while I started publishing it on the East Bergholt Voice and Noticeboard page," said Mr Reed.
During the second lockdown the dogs returned, this time sitting outside interesting doors all over the village.
"I realised that these dogs were giving a lot of heart and reason to people," said Mr Reed.
"They were giving them purpose.
"All of a sudden it dawned on me that there were people who were locked away and by themselves.
"They woke up in the morning and they started to look forward to our posts.
"It gave me more purpose and a bit more pressure everyday."
So positive was the feedback Mr Reed got, that he decided to create a calendar with some of the best shots.
While Mr Reed works in marketing, his wife works in printing meaning that it was a relatively easy process to get the calendar made.
"We said why not, let's give it a go," he said.
"The drive for the calendar became demand from the community."
Mr Reed decided to produce the calendar for charity; from the proceeds £700 went to St Mary's Church in the village with another £700 going to the Schnauzerfest charity.
"At the end of this journey it has been really nice for us to give back," said Mr Reed.
"All the people in the community have felt that they have been a contributory part of something at the same time."
It's not just people in Suffolk that have been enjoying the calendar though with a copy having been sent to the Queen.
"We sent it to Buckingham Palace and then about a week and a half later we got a very nice letter back from the senior lady in waiting," said Mr Reed.
"We just hoped, we don't for sure, that it might have been put in front of the Queen's nose because she likes dogs.
"There's a romantic thought that somewhere in Windsor Castle there is a wall with our calendar on it."
With all the time and effort put into the posts and the calendars what inspired Mr Reed to keep going?
"One weekend, when the calendars came in we got to meet the people behind the likes and the comments," said Mr Reed.
"The people who we only knew by their names on Facebook."
Mr Reed said he was struck by meeting the people he had helped. One woman burst into tears when Mr Reed dropped off her calendar.
"She said 'your posts helped me keep going' ," said Mr Reed.
"When you see someone responding to you, you think you can't let somebody down."
Their adventures can be followed via their Facebook page.