Live updates

Crufts winner owner: "Before I had Molly I was losing the will to live"

The owner of a Crufts winning dog says she's her "reason to be."

Lucy Watts from Benfleet in Essex was praising her cocker spaniel Molly who has become the winner of the Crufts Friends for Life 2014 award.

Speaking about their win at the NEC in Birmingham, Lucy said: “This is just fantastic. It is just wonderful what Molly has done for me. She has given me a purpose, a reason to live, a reason to keep fighting and a reason to carry on.”

Molly voted Britain's top hero dog at Crufts

Lucy Watts (left) and her mum Kate from Essex with Cocker Spaniel Molly, after winning the Friends for Life award at Crufts Credit: Simon Cooper/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A cocker spaniel has picked up a top prize at Crufts for helping her owner Lucy Watts from Benfleet in Essex.

Molly was announced as the winner of the Crufts Friends for Life 2014 competition.

Molly and Lucy, who's 20, were voted the most deserving winners out of five shortlisted finalists by the British public. Lucy has a life-limiting rare genetic illness called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, that has left her in a wheelchair.

Lucy said she was isolated, withdrawn and unhappy but Molly has given her independence again and taken the focus of strangers away from her condition

Advertisement

Region's canine capital prepares for Crufts

by Jim Rice
all crufts
Stay... Mendlesham's Crufts exhibitors preparing for walkies Credit: ITV Anglia

A single village in Suffolk is sending no less than EIGHT dogs to this year's Crufts.

Four breeders from Mendlesham near Stowmarket are all heading to Birmingham's NEC Arena for the four day show.

Dachshunds
Skipper, Lenny and Rodney - Dachshunds owned by Debbie Gaskill Credit: ITV Anglia

Four breeders - Kay Crisp, Debbie Gaskill, Sharon Marshall and Isabel Eastall own dogs of four very different breeds - Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Afghan Hounds and an Airedale Terrier.

They say it's a complete coincidence that they all live in Mendlesham, but the village and surrounding area is full of dog lovers.

afghan
Anais - one of the Afghan Hounds owned by Sharon Marshall Credit: ITV Anglia

And it's not just the village that has pedigree - Cocker Spaniels Dexter and Mini are descended from a Crufts Best in Show winner.

Susan
Susan - an Airedale Terrier owned by Isabel Eastall Credit: ITV Anglia

Advertisement

Today's top stories