max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C


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

Sophie Wellum-Mayes with one of the dogs she helped  Picture: BONCE PR

Sophie Wellum-Mayes with one of the dogs she helped Picture: BONCE PR

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.

Those who Sophie had previously helped suprised her Picture: BONCE PRThose who Sophie had previously helped suprised her Picture: BONCE PR

“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.

Sophie's surprise will now be airing on ITV   Picture: BONCE PRSophie's surprise will now be airing on ITV Picture: BONCE PR

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.”

Bailey hasn’t had the best start to life and hopes someone can give him the loving home he deserves. Watch our video of him playing with his favourite toy.

Crowds watched in awe as a 50ft Christmas tree was lifted into place on the newly renovated Ipswich Cornhill, just in time for the festival period.

David Kindred takes a look at past building sites around Ipswich before the introduction of health and safety including St Margaret’s church and Fore Street.

A lorry driver has been arrested after his heavy goods vehicle crashed into the central reservation on the A14 at Ipswich.

Walkers crisps, frozen mash, children’s shoes, and wine from John Lewis are a few of the many items which are being recalled. Check the list and make sure you don’t have these products in your home.

Highways England is to resurface a stretch of uneven road which has been causing major delays for motorists on the A14.

From a new restaurant opening in Ipswich to finding out which Suffolk road is in the top 10 of riskiest roads in the East of England.

Police have discovered the body of a missing teenager in Lakenheath.

Children’s authors took centre stage in a question and answer session in Ipswich.

A driver who was stopped in Ipswich for allegedly using a mobile phone behind the wheel has been arrested after reportedly giving a positive drugs test.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24