A Gainsborough mum says she has been overwhelmed by support from the community who have helped her son Charley get a much needed assistance dog.
Charley, four, is autistic and has ADHD, and mum Samantha Walford has been fundraising to help raise money towards the training of an assistance dog.
Assistance dogs are a great benefit to children like Charley, helping to identify dangers and keeping the four year old safe. Charley’s dog Monty also stops him running away when the family are on a day out.
To say thank you to everyone who helped raise the funds needed, Samantha organised for everyone to come together to meet Monty.
She said: “We turned up on Saturday to have everyone meet Charley and Monty. I do wonder if we have had this great support because we are local, people see us about and recognise the faces as we walk by.
“As we stood there with Phoebe Walker, who very kindly came to sing for us, customers of Marshall’s Yard walked past and greeted us with warmth and were interested in our situation and how Monty is going to help our family.
“It was lovely to have the staff from the stores come and introduce them to our beautiful boys.
“In this day and age charity is a big thing everwhere with so many people in need of help so companies and stores must get inundated with requests, which is why Saturday was so important to us, to give back a little for the help they have given us.
“At the end of May we decided that as we had more than half the money needed, we would ask Service Dogs Europe to start the process of finding us a dog.
“By the end of June Monty arrived. He ran straight into the garden with both boys running after him and they continued to chase after each other for the next 30 minutes.
“I think it was love at first sight with the three of them. Monty is nearly five months now and has bonded with all three of our children.
“He has demonstrated the natural instinct he has with the children and his calmness when they are in need of distraction or patience and that is without any training.
“We have had people comment on his calm temperament for such a young dog. It is easy to see why he has been chosen for the job he is intended for.”
Monty, who is an Irish setter/poodle, will assist in keeping Charley safe allowing mum and dad to share their attention between all their three children.
Samantha added: “But we wouldn’t have got this far if it wasn’t for the massive support we’ve had from the local community. From sponsor money when doing a charity run, raffle prizes being donated at other events, even down to the kindness of people like the staff at Carphone Warehouse stopping to ask how we are getting on whenever we pass.
“Gainsborough Playhouse staff have come to know Charley over the years and have become accustomed to his escape attempts - they also backed us with donations when needed.
“Rachel Tutty from Rachel Interiors, my sister Laura Smith and Jo Sweeney from the RAF not only raised about £1,600 but put themselves through some tough runs and Airfield Anarchy to raise that money, which was no easy feat.
“Then there is Cristina Grimes at Shabby to Chic, who not only keep our dogs looking well kept and clean but donate any payments back to Charley.
“We do have to give a huge thank you to a very special group of people who continuously come out and support us in our bag packing days at the local supermarkets. Giving up there days to work voluntarily to raise money for our family.
The next fundraising event is on Saturday, September 5, when Alan Noden and Neil Buckley, will be taking on the Three Peak Challenge.
To make a donation visit www.gofundme.com/8f2bnyn4,