AN ANIMAL lover is taking a leap of faith in aid of her favourite local animal charity.
Alicia Ball, aged 34, of Plant Street, Cheadle, is undertaking a skydive on Saturday, March 30, to raise money for Cheadle and District Animal Welfare Society, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.
Alicia has been a volunteer dog walker with the charity for the past year and has been a staunch supporter of their work for most of her life.
The freelance chef said: “I’ve always wanted to do some fund-raising for the society, so when I found out that it was their 45th anniversary the timing was ideal.
“My sister Kate had already booked the skydive as she is raising money for Battersea Dogs Home.
“I’d always wanted to do a parachute jump and as I suffer with vertigo it is the ultimate challenge.
“I haven’t had to do any preparation, but I’ve watched a few videos and although I'm really excited and looking forward to it, I got sweaty palms.
“I’m sure I’ll be nervous on the day, but my husband Jez is doing it with us as well so it will be really special for the three of us.
“The benefits of what we’re doing will far outweigh the fear and the more money I can raise the more it will spur me on.
"I started dog walking after seeing an advert on the society's Facebook page and applied through their website.
"My first dog was Bambi, who has been re-homed now after being with the society for a while, and I'd walk her once a week.
“I now walk a dog called Gordon, who has been with the society for four years and desperately needs a new home.
“I love animals and have always supported Cheadle and District Animal Welfare Society through donations.
“I’m doing the skydive to raise its profile as much as it being a fund-raising exercise and my ideal target would not only be to raise as much money and attention for the society as I can, but to get Gordon a new home.”
To support Alicia you can donate through the Cheadle and District Animal Welfare Society's website and paypal, adding a special note that it is for Alicia’s skydive so she can keep track of her donations, and taxpayers can also pay gift aid where an extra 25p for each £1 will be added.
Donations can also be made via Facebook on the Sponsored Skydive page and sponsor forms have been put in various businesses including: The Blacksmiths Arms and Bulls Head pubs in Alton; Wheatsheaf, Master Potter, C and E Furniture, Lime Trees Vets, Francesco's, Moshi Coffee, newsagents in Ashbourne Road in Cheadle; and The Lord Nelson in Oakamoor.
A donation of: £5 will feed and house a dog for a day; £10 will feed and house a cat for three days; £20 will go a long way in paying for a vaccination for either a dog or a cat; £50 will help towards the cost of neutering a male and a female cat; £100 will help pay for the neutering of a dog.
Staffordshire Bull Cross Gordon is one of the society’s special cases.
He has been with them since November 2009 when he arrived as a stray and is aged around five to six.
Gordon walks quite well on the lead and enjoys being taken out by anyone who is willing.
As he has been in the kennel environment for so long, Gordon will take time to settle into a new home and requires patience and lots of TLC.
Gordon specifically needs a home with no children or other animals. Any potential new owner will need to visit Gordon regularly prior to him going to his new home.
Gordon has started to go out more regularly with his dog walking friends and although wary at times of new environments is really benefiting from these walks and is starting to look like a different dog which is great to see.
His regular walkers think he is brilliant and is such a changed dog from a few years ago.
He is strong but walks well and accepts pats and comments from anyone who stop to talk to him. Gordon now laps up the attention he gets.
It is lovely to see him like this, what a difference love and regular attention can make.He is so much happier now and can see there is a good side to life.
The society would love to make life complete for him and find him a lovely home to go back to rather than the kennels.
He is starting to look back now when he’s going into the kennels as if to say ‘can’t I go home with you?’ His walker would have him but she already has two dogs at home.
If you are interested in giving Gordon a home contact 07790 527190.
CHEADLE and District Animal Welfare Society is a registered charity run entirely by a small group of dedicated volunteers and is 45 years old this year.
It was set up in March 1968 to take responsibility for the stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats within Cheadle and the Staffordshire Moorlands area.
Where possible, they also provide help for animals that have become homeless due to death or illness in families.
They receive no government funding and rely solely on donations from the public, supporters and local businesses as well as from fundraising events throughout the year.
Their website provides further information www.cheadleanimalwelfare.ora.uk Prior to March 1968 all stray dogs were taken to the Police Station in the High Street, Cheadle and kept in the kennels at the back of the station.
The dogs not claimed after 7 days were walked along the High Street to the vets and put to sleep.
Dorothy Wood and her friend Lucy Bolton were so upset by this that between them they decided to do something about it.
They gathered together a few other interested people and organised a meeting in the Guild Hall.
They put one shilling in a kitty and organised a Jumble Sale. Cheadle Animal Welfare Society had been born.
The next dog that was taken into the Police Station was collected. It was a Collie. One of the ladies walked it through Cheadle in the hope of finding someone to care for it. Mr Troy from Checkley offered to look after the dog for a couple of weeks.
The dog, called Lassie, stayed for 13 years. That little ploy has been used many times over the years.
A kennels at the Boundary offered to help and the Society was up and running. It wasn't until several years later that cats were also taken in and rehomed.
The society still has no premises of its own and pays to board the cats and dogs in its care at a kennels near to Cheadle.
It relies on the good will of so many volunteers and supporters to help with the many varied activities that are associated with re-homing and caring of the animals as well as much needed fund raising.
Without their practical help and generosity the Society could not continue to make life easier for the cats and dogs that truly need help.
Very many thanks go to people who regularly donate money to them and to those people who kindly think about the Society at birthdays and anniversary times.
Particularly to people who include the Society in their will and leave them a legacy. Such donations keep the Society going.
Without all the fantastic help and donations the Society could not continue the work that was started by the ladies in 1968.