Pet lovers and their dogs come out in force for first-ever ‘Wee Joan’s Dog Walk’ raising thousands of pounds for NI charity

Pet lovers and their dogs come out in force for first-ever ‘Wee Joan’s Dog Walk’ raising thousands of pounds for NI charity

A dog walk created in memory of popular North Coast bartender Willie Gregg’s late mother, Joan, has been hailed a success after hundreds of dog owners and their families turned out to support the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust.

The event took place today (Sunday, September 19) seeing hoards of people and their furry friends descend upon the starting point at the RNLI Portrush Lifeboat Station.The socially distant walk then headed to Ramore Head, along Landsdowne and onto The Arcadia and back again in what was a memorable, wholesome event for all ages. The dog walk was held in memory of Willie’s late mother Joan who passed away this year. Mr Gregg decided to organise the event to fulfil a promise to his late mother Joan who was an ardent dog lover.

The bartender, who has been awarded for his previous fundraising efforts including winning a prestigious Spirit of NI Award in 2017, said: “I want to thank everyone who took part in Wee Joan’s Dog walk. They have contributed towards making magical memories for some of Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable and deserving children.

“My mother Joan was very disappointed that we had to postpone our charity dog walk several times during Covid-19 but today her dream came true as people from all over Northern Ireland came together for a wonderful charity. The funds we have raised will now make dreams come true for many more children now and that is a gift you can’t put a price on.

“When we launched Wee Joan’s Dog Walk, we did so with the intention of making it an annual event and with so much support for the inaugural walk, we look forward to an even bigger and better event in 2022."

Colin Barkley, Chair of the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days To Remember Trust (NICLT), said: “Willie recently joined the North Coast Fundraising Committee for the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland and Days to Remember Trust and when he did we had no doubt that this event would be a roaring success, such is his legacy of fundraising.

“To see so many people come out to support him and the NICLT was wonderful. We are delighted to say this will be a regular event in our fundraising calendar and thank everyone for showing up and giving their support.

“The funds raised will help even more deserving children here enjoy the magic of Lapland if and when travel restrictions allow. It will also allow us to carry out other experiences closer to home.”

For anyone who couldn’t take part on the day, donations can be made via JustGiving at: www.justgiving.com/campaign/WeeJoansDogWalk

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