Can you believe that we're at the beginning of Autumn? The leaves are starting to change colour and the suitcase of jumpers is coming out from under the bed. You all know I love the sunshine (!) but this time of year holds lots of memories for me. Autumn was the time of year when Rhino, my bonkers rescue dog, would go mad in the piles of leaves in the park, which kids always used to find hysterical. So, when I was asked to be a part of the "Great North Snowdogs" I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

The Great North Snowdogs is a way of raising money for St Oswold's Hospice, which is such an amazing place, but we'll get to that in a bit. Everyone who took part was given a huge white Snowdog, remember it from the film The Snowman? We were allowed to paint it in any way that we wanted, and so mine became Rhino The Rescue, named after my boy and to represent the thousands of dogs who still need a loving home, and I partnered up with a local artist called Hilda Gething to bring my design to life. It's now part of the "sculpture trail" until 29th November so check out the hash tags #GreatNorthSnowdogs and #RhinoTheRescue to see the first people who had their picture taken with him and the other amazing Snowdogs! 

So, I went up to Yorkshire for the weekend before the launch in Newcastle on Monday, obviously managing to fit in a visit to Bradford to my parents for a roast dinner and my mum's famous dumplings, before I went to see Rhino's new home. He's at Marine Park South in South Shields (click for more info and for a link to the map) and the space is just perfect. He's facing the beach and the duck pond, and there's even a children's choo choo train goes behind him! He was always so good with kids so it was lovely to see them cuddling the statue. There's also a cafe near Rhino, which has fantastic cakes, so the diet took a pounding! 

In the afternoon we visited St Oswold's Hospice which is where the money raised will be going. I don't know what I was expecting but this wasn't it! It doesn't feel like a hospital, it felt more like visiting your best friend, and when you're a child with a terminal illness that is exactly what you need. The staff are wonderful, and after thirty years it's time to raise a little money to help them for the next thirty years.

So, how can we all help? Well the easiest way is to download the app which costs 79p, less than the price of a dog treat, or if you're feeling flush then Rhino The Rescue will be auctioned in December and he has a reserve of £2000 ... and that is a lot of dog treats! Whatever you can do to help would be fantastic, even visiting the trail and sharing images will all help, and I'm honoured to have been asked to take part and help raise awareness. 

www.GreatNorthSnowdogs.co.uk

www.StOswaldsUK.org

Thank you for everything Rhino.

Bye for now everyone,

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