Andy Cook’s mission for Canine Partners in Heyshott

CEO of Canine Partners, Andy Cook meeting some of the locals during his trip.  CONTRIBUTED PICTURE
CEO of Canine Partners, Andy Cook meeting some of the locals during his trip. CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

THE BOSS of Heyshott-based charity Canine Partners is travelling to hell and back.

Andy Cook set off from Land’s End on August 27 on a 12-day trip from one end of the country to the other, aiming to reach his destination – John O’Groats – on September 8.

He is hoping this mammoth challenge, part of his To Hell and Back year of fundraising, will raise at least £3,000, meaning he will reach his target of £10,000 for the charity.

Andy said: “As chief executive of a charity which trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities, I am only too aware of the challenges that face disabled people day in, day out, including various forms of hardship and pain.

“I therefore feel it is only right that I should put my own body on the line by sharing in at least some of that pain.

“I have thrown down the gauntlet to myself and am determined to raise £10,000 so more dogs can be trained as canine partners for people with disabilities.”

Andy highlights why Canine Partners is so close to his heart: “This charity really does transform people’s lives; people like Helen, who lost all of her limbs to a form of meningitis when she was 22 and is now matched with labradoodle Yancey, who has helped her regain her independence in so many different ways.

“These dogs change their owner’s lives by the work they do, after some very special training, and also by the assistance they provide both psychologically
and socially.”

The Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge involves cycling 1,000 miles in 11-and-a-half days, relentless and back-breaking in itself, but then also sharing spartan accommodation with other challengers for the whole trip, and taking minimal clothing.

“It will not be comfortable,” said Andy before he set off.

Supporters have taken to Andy’s Just Giving website to encourage him and fund his cause.

One person who donated said: “It’s amazing and touching work you, your team and your dogs do.

“Who can do more good than give somebody (back) their freedom and a loving companion to be alongside them every step of the way.”

Another added: “Yasmin is my smiley lab canine partner/Supernanny dog who helps me independently parent my two-year-old boy.

“Without her I would not have got out to meet hubby in the first place, go Andy!”

Andy also ran the Brighton Marathon earlier in the year to raise money.

He has been writing a blog during his trip through Britain. To support his efforts and follow the last few stages of his ups and downs, visit {\andy cook}