After hours of deliberation from the judging panel, the winners of St Elizabeth Hospice’s first ever fundraising pet pageant have been announced.
From handsome hounds and cuddly cats to all exotic furry, feathery and scaly friends, there was an array of pawsome entries into the virtual pet pageant.
Organised by the independent charity, which improves life for people across Suffolk living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, the pet pageant featured a number of categories for owners to showcase their cute companions including Best Smile, Best in Show, Golden Oldie and Extraordinary Exotics.
Joanne Rodger, Events and Challenges Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone who entered their cute pets into our first ever pet pageant and making it a great success. We have all enjoyed seeing the numerous adorable photos and the judges had to make some tricky decisions to decide who the worthy winners should be.
“Lockdown has hampered our ability to hold our regular schedule of popular events so to be able to host a virtual event like the pet pageant has been a great way for us to raise funds whilst observing government Covid-19 guidelines.”
Launched in July and sponsored by Christchurch Veterinary Surgery, the pet pageant saw lots of entries from pet owners across Ipswich and Suffolk into the virtual competition to help support St Elizabeth Hospice during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A panel of judges, featuring representatives from Christchurch Veterinary Surgery, Jollyes – The Pet Superstore and Morrisons had the difficult task of judging, with all winners receiving a £10 voucher for Jollyes, as well as a Morrisons’ hamper for the winner of the all-important Best in Show award, which was won by Roxy and her owner Sue Tunaley.
“I entered Roxy as I thought that a photo taken at a family barbeque was perfect for the Best Smile category,” said Sue Tunaley.
“She is a lovely dog and has been with us for almost a year now and is very well behaved and good with other dogs and people. Her only issue is she will jump on anybody’s lap with no warning and is often found on the kitchen table looking out of the window!”
While Jessie Leggett, whose daughter Esmae and horse Peanut won the Junior Handler category, added: “Esmae can’t wait to tell Peanut the good news. They have been best friends for four years now and as Esmae has a genetic condition that affects her muscles, being able ride Peanut is amazing exercise for her and so good for her balance.”
All funds raised by the £2 entry fees have contributed to St Elizabeth Hospice’s #HereTogether campaign, an appeal launched by the hospice to counteract the financial impact of Coronavirus on the charity. After lockdown saw the temporary closure of all its 31 retail shops and postponing of all fundraising activities which are vital income sources needed to support the provision of its end of life care and bereavement services.
Last year, the hospice cared for more than 3,000 Suffolk patients and their families at a cost of £11.5m, of which 75% was raised by the community through St Elizabeth Hospice’s retail shops and local fundraising activities which are now impossible due to social distancing and self-isolation.
St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent Suffolk charity providing free services to improve life for people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness. Centered on an individual’s needs, the hospice provides specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice.
To donate towards St Elizabeth hospice’s #HereTogether campaign visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/SEHCoronavirusAppeal.
To find out more call 01473 727776 or visit: www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk.