Helmingham: Suffolk Day Dog fun for the family

Suffolk Day Dog returns to Helmingham Hall. Pictures: www.dephoto.biz

Suffolk Day Dog returns to Helmingham Hall. Pictures: www.dephoto.biz - Credit: Archant

Every dog has its day and Sunday’s it as Helmingham Hall opens its grounds and gardens for the sixth Suffolk Dog Day.

There's loads to for families and their four-legged friends to enjoy

There's loads to for families and their four-legged friends to enjoy - Credit: Archant

More than 7,000 visitors - not counting the four-legged ones - are expected to take enjoy a walkies around the event which will support the work of The Suffolk Foundation.

Dog day organisers hope to match last year’s record-breaking £60,000 total; which has been put to good use helping community and voluntary groups across the county ranging from those helping adults with their reading and writing to others providing rehabilitation, support and care for people with a neurological condition and respite, support and advice to their families, friends or carers.

This year the adult showing classes, compered by Steve Springett from BBC Radio Suffolk and Emma Freud, for both pedigrees and crossbreeds will take place in the newly-named Helmingham Ring, formerly the main ring. Child-friendly showing classes, as well as new events and features, take place in the extended Suffolk Ring.

The Essex Dog Display Team which wows crowds across the country with its stunts, including flaming hoops and amazing jumps; flyball demonstration, sheep dog display and the new foundlands and bull terriers are among the acts signed up.

Much more than an average dog show, the action-packed family day celebrates every part our canine friends play in our lives.

Show how clever your dog is by entering the on the scent agility ring, gun dog scurry or doglympics which was too successful to put away at the end of 2012.

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Chairman Iain Jamie says the site layout has been extended and improved to accommodate everyone’s needs.

“With the record numbers of people attending we needed to increase the ring size, catering villages and ensure there is plenty of space to move around.

“We have doubled the catering facilities and located them near both rings, brought in more loos, made the rings bigger so they are more comfortable for the dogs and owners, as well as expanded the sizes of popular areas such as the tea tent and registration office. Visitors should notice the difference in a positive way and find the site all very easy to navigate.”

Judi Newman is development director at The Suffolk Foundation which, on behalf of its donors, supports charities and groups in the heart of local communities. They are the grassroots groups who pick up the pieces when life gets turned upside down, yet many of them never receive a donation from the public and often have little or no public profile.

“These local groups are being squeezed tight financially and yet they face more demand than ever before from people in need of their help. We are here to tell those community stories and to celebrate how local giving can transform local lives, connecting those who care with the causes that matter,” she says.

“We’ll be profiling the work of many of them at dog day so please do plan time during all the other activities to meet some of them and discover the difference your support makes. Our grant-making is fuelled by donations of all sizes and Suffolk Dog Day makes a huge impact to our ability to support communities during these very difficult times for the most vulnerable.”

Not to be outdone by any other musical events with a similar name, Doggytude is a new dedicated bandstand with a packed programme of music from Suffolk’s homegrown musicians, singer and songwriters offering everything from folk and rock to blues and everything in between.

Eight acts will play while hundreds of dogs go head to head in more than 16 classes including The Long and the Short of it and Bad Hair Day, which might sound like new bands.

Performing are: 10am, Straight from the Horse’s Mouth; 11am, Justine de Mierre; 11.45am, Aartwork; 12.30pm, 1normal; 1.15pm, Kev Walford; 2pm, Fireflies on Mars; 2.45pm, Sara Deyn; 3.30pm, Reset Prose and 4.15pm, Straight from the Horse’s Mouth.

Gates open at 10am. For more details on this Sunday’s event, buying tickets and the life-changing work of the Suffolk Foundation visit www.suffolkdogday.com

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