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Kennel Break event

Rugby players team up for charity's annual Kennel Break fundraiser

Bath Cats and Dogs Home has teamed up with Bath Rugby players to encourage businesses to raise more than £20,000 in one day.

Now in its sixth year, the charity's popular Kennel Break event on Friday 9 June will see people swap their usual place of work for the doghouse. The charity is challenging dog-loving businesses to move into their dog kennels with their phones and laptops, and raise a minimum of £1,000 to buy their bail and release. The business that raises the most will be crowned Top Dog.

"We hope regional organisations and businesses will get behind this event and help Bath Cats and Dogs Home to raise much needed funds at this year's Kennel Break", commented Matt Banahan, Bath Rugby's longest serving player.

"It's a charity close to many of our hearts and this season, is one of the three local charities supported by the club."

Matt Banahan with Casper

Matt Banahan with Casper the lurcher

Top try scorer Matt Banahan adopted his beagle, Jasper, from the charity; fellow dog lover from the second row Matt Garvey adopted Rocky, a black labrador cross.

Last year employees from 10 businesses took part in the challenge and raised more than £15,000 and over the past five years, the event has raised nearly £60,000.

Zena Jones, a fundraiser for the charity, encourages people to sign up with their colleagues and share the task. She says, "It’s a fun day of networking and negotiating – a chance for local business folk to meet others, and use their wit and charm to encourage colleagues, suppliers and clients to pledge money and secure their release."

Max Clarke with Casper

Dog loving Max Clarke with Casper the lurcher

Seven businesses have already signed up willing inmates for the day, including veterinary surgeon Amelia Welham from Bath Vets4pets Bath; Steve Smitherman, business manager for Barclays Bank's Bath branch; Steve Fox, operations director and PA Maria Merry, from the Pensions Solutions Group; Philip Kay, contracts manager from Prestige Cleaning; Steve White, owner and Andy Webb, estimator, from Bath Contract Flooring; Jo Hindle, retail operations manager and Catia Lopes, sales assistant, from Bath Cats and Dogs Home Pet Shop.

Matt Garvey with Casper

Matt Garvey with Casper the lurcher

Zena adds, "Kennel Break is one of our key annual fundraising events – the support we receive is vital to our work. Later this year, we’re looking to start upgrading and adding to our facilities here. The need for us to provide care and shelter for unwanted and abandoned animals never reduces, sadly."

To find out more and sign up, call 01225 787335, email zenajones@bcdh.org.uk or visitbcdh.co.uk/kennelbreak.

Main photo: From top left, Jack Walker, Charlie Ewels, Matt Banahan, Zena Jones and Casper the lurcher team up to promote Kennel Break - Bath Cats and Dogs Home’s June business fundraising event.