Suffolk: Suffolk Dog Day draws in the crowds

Man's best friend had their day during Suffolk Dog Day at Helmingham Hall.

Man's best friend had their day during Suffolk Dog Day at Helmingham Hall. - Credit: Archant

Unless your dog has a better social life than the Beckhams, the Suffolk Dog Day is probably the biggest event on its calendar.

Thousands of dogs - from chihuahuas to Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds to Bullmastifs - descended on Helmingham Hall today for the sixth event of its kind.

It is much more than your average dog show, with dozens of activities and classes to suit every dog.

For sporty dogs, there was a number of agility events to try, like the scent agility ring, gun dog scurry, catch the rabbit or Doglympics. For those suited to more gentile pastimes, they could enter Suffolk’s Next Top Model category in the Helmingham Ring or the movers and shakers dance class. Other classes included junior handlers, puppies, doggy musical sits, the best fancy dress and the best in show.

All proceeds from the day go to the Suffolk Community Foundation, which has raised well over £7.5million since it started in 2005. This money has been dished out to more than 1,500 local groups, ranging from those helping adults with reading and writing to others providing rehabilitation, support and care for people with a neurological condition.

Last year, Dog Day raked in more than £60,000 for the Foundation, £240,000 since it started - making it the biggest fundraising event on it’s calendar.

David Sheepshanks was chairman of the Suffolk Community Foundation for eight years, until May, when he became chairman of UK Community Foundations. Speaking about the popularity of Dog Day, he said: “The recipe for it’s success is the simplicity.

Most Read

“It is for Suffolk families to celebrate their four legged friends.”

He added: “People are gobsmacked when I tell them there are currently about 4,500 charities and voluntary organisations working in Suffolk. Fifty percent of those have a income of less than £10,000, so we are talking about small grassroot causes. They provide the social glue in communities. What the Foundation hope to do is encourage people to give to local needs - and the Suffolk Dog Day is an ideal platform to promote the work we do.”

Iain Jamie, chairman of the Suffolk Dog Day for the second year running, said: “It looks like it has been another success.

“Everyone looks to be having fun. Each year we work on improving the event. The Suffolk Ring is bigger and we’ve included a new Doggytude area with musicians.

“We couldn’t do it without our sponsors and the 140 volunteers who make all of this a successful reality.”

Special guests on the day included Emma Freud OBE, who is director of Red Nose Day - and lives in Walberswick with her partner, comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis - Peter Over, Dudley Clarke and Stephen Fletcher.

Helmingham Hall also opened it’s gardens for visitors.

For more information on the life-changing work of the Suffolk Community Foundation visit