Charity cycle between Lands End and John O'Groats to raise money for retired service animals

A charity is cycling between Lands End and John O'Groats to raise money for retired service animals.

The National Foundation of Retired Service Animals is a charity for service dogs and horses at the end of their working life.

Money is raised to help their owners with equipment, food and medical bills.

Lady Bathurst, Chairman of the National Foundation for Retired Service Animals, said: “I think it's incredibly important that we support all our service animals after they've retired because they've given so much to us.

"They've spent the majority of their lives keeping us safe because they don't have funding and because they can't get insurance when they're older. I think it's absolutely vital that we, the public, it's a wonderful way to say thank you and to acknowledge what they have done for us.

Police dogs play a key role in helping to catch offenders and keep the public safe. Credit: PA

"What's keeping me going is the fact that we are supporting the handlers and the riders of these extraordinary animals. I know how much this means to them. And even on the days when I'm getting absolutely soaked and my goodness, I've fallen off more times than I can remember.

"But I'm determined to carry on because these guys and girls are worth it. And the dogs that they have are absolutely worth it."

Lady Bathurst still has 300 miles still to go and has already raised around £12,000.

Sgt Aidan Bew, Cumbria Police Dog Unit, said: “The dogs are essential to make sure that we can cover as much of the county as we can and we can support our colleagues on the front line.

"It's quite often when you turn up to a job that the dog is worth four or five officers when it's searching an area or it's searching for somebody who's gone absconding from us or is a missing person.

"The dogs are an essential piece of equipment for us and force to make sure that we can give the best service to the people of Cumbria."

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