A man has set a new fundraising record for the PDSA by raising more than £20,000 for its trekking challenge in a week.
Next month Kerry Irving, from Keswick in the Lake District, will be walking up to the peak of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, together with two of his spaniels, Paddy and Harry.
Irving did the trek for the first time in 2012, with his dog Max who had helped him recover from depression after suffering from chronic pain because of a car accident in 2006.
Irving has since written a book about the role Max played in his recovery, called Max The Miracle Dog, and set up a Facebook page that has more than 110,000 followers. He completed a number of fundraising challenges, raising over £165,000 for various charities over the years, including Mind and PDSA.
The total on his JustGiving page for this year’s Ben Nevis challenge currently stands at almost £23,000 including GiftAid. PDSA said this is the largest sum raised for a single volunteer challenge in such a short timeframe.
Smashed original target
Irving said: “In 2006 I was involved in a road accident which changed my life completely. In 2009 after numerous operations, pain relief medication and crippling depression, I met a dog called Max. He turned my life around when I was at my lowest ebb - he saved me.
“In 2012 I walked Ben Nevis with Max, but at nearly thirteen he’s a little too old for that now so I’ll be joined by Paddy and Harry – it will be the first time they take on this challenge.
“I have been overwhelmed with the response to our fundraiser in such a short space of time. My original target was £2,000 and I was amazed this was smashed in a couple of hours. I promised to wax my legs if we exceeded £20,000 – which I’ll be sticking to and I’ll be sharing that experience live on Facebook soon– but it would be really wonderful to reach £25,000.”
PDSA losing £3m a month
PDSA has launched an emergency appeal to support its services during the pandemic. It said it is currently missing out on £3m income a month due to charity shops closure and interruption of fundraising activities. The appeal has raised about £350,000 so far.
Nigel Spencer, director of fundraising at PDSA, said: “Kerry and his four-legged fundraising friends Max, Harry and Paddy are an inspiration to us all and we’re extremely grateful for their incredible, ongoing support. It’s the largest total raised by a single fundraiser through a challenge like this in such a short amount of time and we are so thankful for their support, especially at this difficult time.
“The support of Kerry, his canines and everyone who has donated means the world to us. PDSA is facing a massive funding crisis so vital support such as this will help ensure the charity can continue its life-saving work, treating sick and injured pets in need across the country.”