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Gentle giant Wilson crowned Suffolk Dog Day Superstar

PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 May 2019

Wilson the St Bernard with owners Zoe Thorne and Jeff Clark  Picture: MARK BAILEY

Wilson the St Bernard with owners Zoe Thorne and Jeff Clark Picture: MARK BAILEY

Mark L Bailey

Every dog has its day, and that special moment has finally arrived for "big softie" Wilson - who was chosen from 1,000 photogenic four-legged friends to be the face of Suffolk's top canine celebration.

Willow the Cockapoo, Suffolk Dog Day Superstar runner up  Picture: MARK BAILEYWillow the Cockapoo, Suffolk Dog Day Superstar runner up Picture: MARK BAILEY

Wilson the St Bernard, who stands at 6ft tall on his hind legs, will be taking on the very important role of Suffolk Dog Day Superstar - with his face adorning billboards, posters, flyers and social media ahead of the big day this Summer.

The gentle giant from Bury St Edmunds was crowned top dog after a very close competition - which saw almost 1,000 four-legged friends in the running for the title of Suffolk's next doggy icon.

Four runners up - Willow the Cavapoo, Simba the Pomeranian, Thunder the 'Jackshund' and Darcie the Cockapoo - were also selected to feature alongside Wilson on some promotional material ahead of the event, run by Suffolk Community Foundation.

Wilson's owners, Zoe Thorne and Jeff Clark, said their gentle giant was a "big softie".

Suffolk Dog Day Team with Mark Bailey and Suffolk Community Foundation's dog Ella  Picture: MARK BAILEYSuffolk Dog Day Team with Mark Bailey and Suffolk Community Foundation's dog Ella Picture: MARK BAILEY

"He loves people, dogs and most of all cuddles - he even sucks his paw and hugs his teddy to help him go to sleep," Ms Thorne said.

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"We could not be more proud and are so honoured that Wilson has been chosen to be the new Suffolk Dog Day Superstar. It's a dream come true for us, not just as Saint Bernard fans but as fans of our special boy.

"Suffolk Dog Day is one of the largest and most popular events in the Suffolk calendar and we are just so excited and grateful to be a part of it."

Darcie the Cockapoo, one of the runners up, with her family  Picture: MARK BAILEYDarcie the Cockapoo, one of the runners up, with her family Picture: MARK BAILEY

Organisers said it was tough whittling down the entries from 1,000 to a shortlist of 10. All were invited to the Suffolk Community Foundation offices for their moment in front of the camera, with award-winning Felixstowe photographer Mark Bailey.

Tim Holder, head of public affairs at Suffolk Community Foundation and head judge of the competition, added: "Everyone really entered into the spirit and there was a real buzz in the office as gorgeous dogs of all shapes and sizes shimmied up the red carpet for their moment in the spotlight.

"They were all bursting with character and so lovely to work with. But there really could only be one winner, and sometimes bigger is best.

"We have chosen a new Superstar who is a gentle giant that loves being around people and is the perfect new ambassador for Suffolk Dog Day and for all the good work it continues to do to help vulnerable people in our county."

Runner up Thunder the Jackshund  Picture: MARK BAILEYRunner up Thunder the Jackshund Picture: MARK BAILEY

The canine celebration returns to Helmingham Hall on July 28, 2019.

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