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The Great British Dog Walk, a popular charity walk run by national assistance dog charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, is back for a ninth year and is returning to Raby Castle, Darlington, on Sunday 5 May 2024.


Hundreds of walkers, and dogs of all shapes and sizes, will be taking part to have fun, meet like-minded people and support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, the charity that trains dogs to alert deaf people to important and life-saving sounds.


The walk is sponsored by Specsavers Audiologists, helping Hearing Dogs to raise more funds to change the lives of deaf people.On the day there will be two walk options – either 8km or 3km routes, making it ideal for dog owners, families, single walkers, organised walking groups and those who simply want to meet lots of dogs and get a bit of exercise for a good cause.


It costs around £40,000 to fully train and support a hearing dog for the duration of its life and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People receives no government funding so every walker will be helping to transform the life of a deaf person – someone like Christine Maddern from Richmond, for instance.

Christine was partnered with her second hearing dog, Freddie, in 2019. She said: “Before I had Freddie, and Reggie, my first hearing dog, I would often miss the everyday sounds we take for granted. I didn’t hear visitors coming to the door and before I had Freddie to alert me to the oven timer, I ended up with several burnt cakes.

“Reggie once woke me up at 3am when I was staying in a hotel because the fire alarm had gone off and I hadn’t heard it. Thankfully I’ve yet to put Freddie’s soundwork skills to the test on that front!

“When we’re out and about, people who wouldn’t usually realise I am profoundly deafened, are more understanding when they see Freddie in his Hearing Dogs jacket. On one occasion, before I had Freddie, I was in a shop when the salesperson wished me a good day. She was clearly put out when I didn’t respond, and luckily I was with a friend, who explained to her that I wasn't being rude - I simply hadn't heard her.

“I was often lonely before I had Freddie and Reggie, as I’ve been on my own for 20 years. They have both provided loving companionship that is indescribably comforting.

“Freddie is very protective of me, and whenever ill-health forces me to take to my bed, he lies very quietly alongside me and licks my hand gently until I’m able to get up. His companionship has become essential to my happiness and wellbeing. It's a match made in heaven!”

Carina Hummel, Managing Director at Specsavers Audiology, which sponsors the Great British Dog Walk, said: “This is an excellent way for people to have fun, get some exercise, meet like-minded people and perhaps most importantly, meet lots of cute dogs while supporting a good cause.

“If every person who took part in the Great British Dog Walk raised just £10 by getting themselves or their dog sponsored, the charity could train another dog like Freddie to alert deaf people to important and life-saving sounds that they would otherwise miss and help them to leave loneliness behind.


“We’re so proud of our involvement in the Great British Dog Walk and the fact that it helps to transform the lives of deaf people like Christine. We’re very much looking forward to the walks and hope lots of people in each area will come along and show their support.”


Tickets to each event are £12 in advance or £15 on the day. There is a free limited-edition Great British Dog Walk dog bandana for each adult ticket purchased for the walk and working hearing dogs and puppies-in-training will be available to meet on the day. While sponsorship would be very much appreciated to help Hearing Dogs train more life-changing puppies, it is not essential.


To sign-up to the Great British Dog Walk at Raby Castle, or for more information visit The Great British Dog Walk - Raby Castle (


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