Tyne & Wear

Great North Dog Walk: Thousands gather in South Shields

The Great North Dog Walk
Image caption Organisers expected more than 23,000 dogs to take part

A mass dog walk involving about 23,000 pets and their owners has taken place on South Tyneside.

The Great North Dog Walk took place in South Shields, in the Leas area of the town on Sunday.

The walk, which is now in its 23rd year, was devised by former teacher Tony Carlisle as a way of raising cash for charities.

This year some of the money raised is going to the Help for Heroes charity in memory of killed soldier Lee Rigby.

Drummer Rigby was killed near Woolwich Barracks on 22 May.

The first few Great North Dog Walks events attracted fewer than 350 dogs. The 3.5 mile (5.6km) walk follows a coastal route.

Mr Carlisle said: "I wanted to give people the chance to make a donation and pay their respects to Drummer Lee Rigby.

"The dog walk had an official Help For Heroes stand set up for people to do just that.

Image caption For many, this was their first time at the event
Image caption Almost 200 different breeds were featured in the walk
Image caption Owners walked their dogs on a 3.5 mile route along the cliffs of South Shields
Image caption The event took part over six hours on The Leas in South Shields
Image caption The event attracted dog owners from across the north of England
Image caption Some dogs wore "fancy dress" like this pet in a Superman costume

"I, like so many others, only wish to pass on my heartfelt condolences to Lee's family and friends."

He added: "We've had the Great North Run in the North East for many years and I'm an animal lover and wanted a similar type of event to allow people to come and enjoy simply walking their dogs.

"Last year we had 23,300 dogs taking part. So far, pre-registration suggests we will beat even that."

The mayor of South Tyneside, Ernest Gibson, said: "The Great North Dog Walk has become one of the borough's leading events.

"It generates fabulous exposure for South Tyneside from all over the world.

"It is a wonderful way to show people our beautiful coastline and is a great opportunity for everyone to take a stroll and keep fit."

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