MORE dogs than ever before took part in Sunday’s sixth 'Paws For Thought' sponsored dog walk in aid of St Mary’s Hospice.

Around 80 dogs and their owners took part in the 2.5km walk around Barrow Park, raising in excess of £2,390 in aid of the Ulverston-based hospice.

Families from across the area brought their pooches out in force to get involved in the event, which was sponsored by Grove Veterinary Centre in Barrow.

The mayor of Barrow, Councillor Colin Thompson, started the dogs and walkers from the Café Pavilion and also presented each dog with a goody bag of treats, provided by The Range.

For the first time this year the sponsored walk was followed by a Fun Dog Show featuring 12 classes, such as Waggiest Tail and Scruffiest Mutt, as well as two agility dog shows organised by Barrow Dog Agility Club.

Pedigree pooch, Ben, a golden retriever from Askam, won the prestigious Best in Show award, as well as winning two firsts in the ‘Veteran’ and ‘Dog that the Judge Would Most Like to Take Home’ classes.

Proud owner, Jill Pitt, 50, of Fawn Close in Askam-in-Furness, said: “I got Ben as a puppy on my 40th birthday and yesterday was my 50th birthday, so him winning Best in Show was the best present I could ask for!

“It is the first time we’ve ever entered him in a dog show but the second time we’ve taken part in the Paws For Thought sponsored walk.”

Sarah Gardner, events fundraiser at St Mary’s Hospice, said: “We had an incredible turn out for both the walk and the dog show.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the event and all those who supported it, as well as our sponsors and volunteers.

“It was a great day out for all the family and following the success of our first Fun Dog Show, we will certainly be looking at staging it again next year.”

St Mary’s Hospice first opened in 1989 to provide help, care, and support to people with life-shortening conditions and their families. Twenty-five years on, it has now helped more than 15,000 people across South Cumbria.

A full programme of events and activities to celebrate 25 years of St Mary’s Hospice can be viewed by visiting and people are being urged to do what they can to support their Hospice during its anniversary year.