The Isle of Wight’s appeal as a top destination for dog lovers has been celebrated at the inaugural Wightlink Woof Awards.

Several awards were presented during a ceremony at the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society’s County Show at Northwood on Sunday (June 30) where Island MP Bob Seely was among the guests.

The honours are designed to promote the Island as a dog-friendly travel destination by highlighting some of the best canine-friendly businesses and attractions, and recognising devoted dog owners and, of course, the top dogs themselves.

More than 1,300 nominations were received for the first Wightlink Woof Awards – making it a tough task for the judging panel to pick the winners.

‘Toby the reading dog’ has been named the Isle of Wight Dog of the Year. The bearded collie has helped raise funds for charity and served as a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog. The 15 year old now goes into Ryde Academy once a week to listen to children read and help boost their confidence.

Awards Organiser, Wightlink PR and Brand Manager Louise Lea says: “Toby is an inspiration and a wonderful dog ambassador. His unconditional respect and rare talent of giving as well as receiving love makes him one in a million. We are delighted to recognise his achievements with this award.”

Carol Court was named Isle of Wight Dog Person of the Year for setting up Ability Dogs 4 Young People to help disabled children in 2012. She says: “This was a lovely surprise. The first I knew about the nomination was when I got a letter from Wightlink saying I had been shortlisted.

“I am delighted to have won as it is very nice recognition for the work of our volunteers and supporters. Thank you Wightlink and those who nominated me.”

 

The other award-winners were:

  • Best Isle of Wight Dog-friendly Beach – Seagrove Beach
  • Best Isle of Wight Dog Walk – Freshwater Causeway
  • Best Isle of Wight Dog Business – All Canines Great and Small
  • Best Isle of Wight Dog-friendly Place to Eat and Drink – Off the Rails
  • Best Isle of Wight Dog-friendly Attraction – Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary
  • Best Isle of Wight Dog-friendly Accommodation Provider – Luccombe Manor

 

Winners received a trophy, £100 in Wightlink travel vouchers, a goodie bag and a Wightlink Woof Awards Golden Pawprint Marque to impress their friends and customers.

Bob Seely MP, who received the Best Beach Award on behalf of the Isle of Wight Council and presented the Best Dog Person Award to Carol Court, says: “The Awards are a fantastic way of championing how the Island is a destination for everyone. It is a place where we value all our visitors – whether they are of the two-legged or four-legged variety.

“Well done to everyone who took part and particular congratulations to the winners. I hope the Wightlink Woof Awards go from strength to strength as it is crucial that we celebrate and promote all that is good about the Island.”

Stuart James, Wightlink’s Director of Marketing and Innovation says: “We have been really impressed both by the quantity and quality of entries. It is clear that the Island is a place that makes a great effort to cater for dog owners and their canine companions.

“We are already looking forward to next year’s Awards.”

Picture captions:

  • Dog behaviour specialist Paul James Marshall presents the Best Dog Award to Tricia Owen on behalf of Toby
  • Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely presents the Best Dog Person Award to Carol Court

 

For more information, contact Karen Woods on 07775 694266 or karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk


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