Puppy dog Keano digs in for guide dogs

IPSWICH: In the dugout, he is known as a fearsome manager - but hardman “Keano” has shown he has a generous side.

Russell Claydon

IPSWICH: In the dugout, he is known as a fearsome manager - but hardman “Keano” has shown he has a generous side.

The Blues boss is set to take The Evening Star's guide dog appeal past the target �25,000 mark after unexpectedly dipping into his own pocket.

Roy Keane has pledged �350 to help complete the fund-raising campaign for a third puppy to be trained up to provide a lifeline for a blind person.

The surprise pledge came after the Town chief met 14-week-old puppy Faith yesterday, the second dog kind-hearted Star readers have funded.

Keane, whose retriever Triggs is nine this week and also has a two-year-old German Shepherd, said of the Star campaign: “It is fantastic.

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“I have met people who have got guide dogs and what we take for granted, our independence, these dogs give these people.

“I would urge people 100per cent to get behind this.

“There are lots of worthy causes out there, but this organisation is fantastic.”

Dog-lover Keane, patron of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind charity, took time out from preparing for today's FA Cup tie with Southampton to meet Faith and three-year-old Umber.

After spending time at the Playford Road training ground cuddling the dogs and feeding them treats, Keane was moved to offer the final sum to reach the appeal's target of �25,000.

Speaking to Penny Parker, Faith's trainer, about how much was left to raise, he said: “Listen, that (�350) will sort the job off, I will sort that no problem.”

Looking at playful Faith, he then joked: “It costs �25,000 to give them treats!”

Mrs Parker, branch co-ordinator for the East & Mid Suffolk Guide Dog Fundraising Branch, said: “It was quite overawing that someone just wants to make it happen and gives that amount out of their own pocket.

“We are very impressed and thank him very much for his support.”

Keane said of his two dogs: “They play a massive part in my life and my kids lives, they are very much part of our household - they run it sometimes!”

Asked about the dog walking opportunities afforded in Suffolk from his Aldeburgh home, he said: “Absolutely brilliant. We are very lucky here. I think my dogs have certainly enjoyed the scenery.”

Members of the guide dog branch, including Mrs Parker, will be holding collections outside Portman Road at Ipswich's match with Doncaster on April 17.

What do think of Roy Keane's gesture? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The Star launched its campaign to train little puppy Star as a guide dog as part of a Christmas appeal in 2008.

With kind-hearted readers ensuring the money rolled in, Faith became the second puppy to be fully funded in the campaign.

Reaching the �25,000 mark now means a third puppy will be trained.

The campaign will continue and you can donate by sending cheques - made payable to the Guide Dogs - to Richard Cornwell, Evening Star, 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7DU.