Ex-Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves opens new Blue Cross rehoming centre in Wherstead

Peter Purves, Andrew Gillon and Blue Cross event dog Maisie cutting the ribbon at the new centre

Peter Purves, Andrew Gillon and Blue Cross event dog Maisie cutting the ribbon at the new centre - Credit: Archant

A former Blue Peter presenter was on hand to officially open a new pet rehoming centre in Suffolk last week.

Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves and Blue Cross dog Maise along with centre manager Andrew G

Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves and Blue Cross dog Maise along with centre manager Andrew Gillon cut ribbon to open new £3.5million centre for the animal charity

Peter Purves, a regular on the popular show between 1967 and 1978, cut the ribbon at the gala opening of the Blue Cross centre in Wherstead on Wednesday.

He was joined by the charity’s event dog Maisie who was show casing the charity’s new mobile contactless donation system.

The new Mayor of Ipswich, Roger Fern, also attended the event and helped mark the occasion by cutting a pet-themed cake made by one of the centre’s volunteers with Blue Cross chief executive Sally de la Bedoyere.

The centre, which opened its doors to the region’s sick, injured and homeless pets earlier this year, aims to help more than 800 dogs and cats each year.

Mr Purves, who now helps present dog show Crufts, said: “As a lifelong animal lover I’m very passionate about the work charities like Blue Cross do helping pets in need.

“I own six dogs and six chickens, but sadly not all pets are as lucky to have loving family homes.

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“The Blue Cross in Suffolk helps hundreds of dogs and cats every year find the second chance they deserve and I’m so pleased to have opened their new rehoming centre.”

Andrew Gillon, centre manager at Blue Cross Suffolk, said: “Peter’s a much-loved TV presenter and lifelong dog lover who is local to our new Blue Cross rehoming centre so we were delighted when he said he would open it for us.

“It was a really good opportunity to show him our work in the area and how we help pets in need.”

The new centre, opposite Suffolk Ski Centre, replaces the charity’s former site in Walton, Felixstowe.

The new facilities have been built on four acres of land and offer more space and modern, purpose-built facilities for pets while they wait for new homes.

As well as a dedicated puppy and kitten unit and on-site veterinary facilities for the centre’s pets there are 20 acres of neighbouring woodland where staff and volunteers can walk dogs.

Mr Gillon added: “Our gala opening was such a great day and it was wonderful to be surrounded by some of our supporters who helped make our new centre possible. Thanks to them we’ve already helped over 350 pets, which is great.”