WATCH: See the moment this unsung hero is given a stunning surprise on national television
PUBLISHED: 15:13 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:13 30 August 2018
It’s always nice to receive an unexpected surprise - but Sophie Wellum-Mayes got an even more special one than most, after she was handed a special gift on national television.
The unsung hero helps run the vital Brainy Dogs project, where rescue hounds are trained to become companion dogs by prisoners at Suffolk’s Hollesley Bay - so they can be rehomed to support people with brain injuries.
Her work since 2011 has been of vital benefit not only to prisoners but also those with neurological conditions - and has given 70 dogs a new start in life.
But little did she expect when she turned up at what she thought was a colouring competition that a stunning gallery of all the people and dogs she had helped over seven years had been made for her - with a film crew on hand to film the moment she discovered her surprise.
The moment, which took place at Snape Maltings, will now be broadcast on prime-time Saturday television during the commercial break for this week’s X Factor.
“I was very shocked,” she said. “I really didn’t expect it.
“Even when Ginette (who nominated Sophie) told me everyone was here I still couldn’t take it in.
“I thought I was coming to judge a colouring competition from some local children.
“I have the best job in the world. I feel very lucky. I get to work with dogs and it’s really rewarding too.
She spoke about one recent “long day” in particular - but said it was worth it because: “I found the ideal dog for one of our clients.
“We’d been looking for over a year so it was worth all the hard work.
“I cannot thank the National Lottery enough. It has literally been a once in a lifetime experience for me – and something I will never, ever forget.
“And if this film helps to raise awareness of our work than that’s even better.”