Puppy is Star attraction in hospital

LOVEABLE guide puppy Star was the guest of honour at Ipswich Hospital when she opened a new play area in the children's ward.

LOVEABLE guide puppy Star was the guest of honour at Ipswich Hospital when she opened a new play area in the children's ward.

The 11-week-old chewed through the red ribbon as she and Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover welcomed hospital staff and young patients to the activities centre in the Garrett Anderson Centre.

Staff at the new state-of-the-art building enjoyed the pup's company, but insisted everyone - including Star - washed their paws on the way in.

Jan Rowsell , head of communications at the hospital, said: “The Evening Star is a major supporter of ours, and for the last few years their Christmas appeal has been for the hospital.


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“We wanted to find a very special guest to come and open our new play area and we couldn't think of anyone better than Star.”

Star was happy to oblige, and posed for pictures with children before pulling the red ribbon down with her teeth to officially open the new facility.

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The area includes tables for activities like drawing, colouring and games, offering hours of fun to children while they are in hospital.

It also has an enclosed outdoor section with a playhouse and slide so children can get some fresh air and have space for more active games.

But the main attraction was the Labrador puppy who is being sponsored through her guide dog training by the Evening Star's Star Appeal.

Hospital staff were so besotted with her they have agreed to run the Penny for a Puppy appeal throughout the hospital, to raise some extra funds for Star's training.

Star was also an instant hit with the children at the hospital, who even took her into the playhouse with them, where she sat for more snaps and cuddles.

In the end, the excitement was too much for her as she fell asleep in the arms of her trainer Penny Parker in the middle of the play area after half an hour of constant attention.

Mr Pickover confessed he was growing more and more attached to little Star as she nibbled on his beard while he held her.

He said: “Every time I see her I just want to take her home with me. I am delighted that Star could be the star attraction at the opening of the play area at the special care unit.

“The Evening Star consistently backs Ipswich Hospital in its various fundraising drives whilst remaining a critical friend at times of difficulty.

“These events are a wonderful example of the special relationship that exists between the Star and the Ipswich Hospital.”

If you would like to donate to the appeal, please send cheques made payable to “Guide Dogs” to Richard Cornwell, Evening Star, 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7DU.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED . . .

The aim is to raise £10,000 to help with the cost of Star's training - and we want the whole community to get involved with the appeal.

Every penny and pound will count and ensure that the little puppy get the best care and training as she is prepared to do the job of guiding someone who lives every day of their lives with the blight of blindness.

If you are organising a fundraising event for the appeal, then we want to hear so we can give it maximum publicity and help boost the amount raised.

So let us know what you are up to - get in touch with Richard Cornwell at the Felixstowe newsdesk on 01394 284109 or the Ipswich newsdesk on 01473 324788.

To donate to the appeal, please send cheques - made payable to the Guide Dogs - to Richard Cornwell, Evening Star, 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, IP11 7DU.

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