Ainsley Harriott among stars sharing pet photos to support virtual dog show

TV chef Ainsley Harriott cuddles up to his dog Bobby, while Phil Daniels poses for a selfie with his pet Chico, to encourage people to take part in a virtual dog show to support Guide Dogs.

They are among the stars who have shared photos of themselves with their dogs to back the charity event, alongside TV presenter Sean Fletcher with his pet Mimi, Dame Jenni Murray with Butch, Frieda and Madge, tennis star Laura Robson with Kiri and Katrina And The Waves star Katrina Leskanich who is backstage at a show with her dog Peggy.

Ainsley Harriott and Bobby
Ainsley Harriott and Bobby (Ainsley Harriott/PA)

Also backing the event is actress Gemma Atkinson, who shared photos of Norman and Ollie, and Cathy Shipton, who has shared pictures of Dilly and Pickle.

Participants in the virtual dog show can submit photos or videos for consideration in categories including scruffiest lockdown dog, waggiest tail, golden oldie, top trick and happiest hound.

Dame Jenni Murray with Butch, Frieda and Madge
Dame Jenni Murray with Butch, Frieda and Madge (Dame Jenni Murray/PA)

There will also be a bloopers category for when filming does not go to plan.

Harriott said: “The charity Guide Dogs does such fantastic work all year round supporting people with sight loss, and that work is more important than ever now.

“I know I’m finding lockdown hard enough, but for people with sight loss, social isolation can happen every day.

Phil Daniels and Chico
Phil Daniels and Chico (Phil Daniels/PA)

“That’s why Bobby and I are so excited to support the Great Guide Dogs Virtual Dog Show. I hope many others will join us – so get those cameras out, get snapping and get entering.”

The show is open for entries on the Guide Dogs Facebook page and over the next six weeks participants will be encouraged to get their friends and family to like their entries and donate.

Cathy Shipton and Dilly and Pickle
Cathy Shipton and Dilly and Pickle (Cathy Shipton/PA)

Beth Marsh, fundraising special projects manager at Guide Dogs, said: “As we continue life in lockdown, we wanted to give our supporters an opportunity to come together and be a part of an event, while also making a difference to others.

“This is our first ever virtual dog show and we are really excited to see how creative participants get with their entries.

“The welfare of our 8,000 dogs is still of utmost importance in these unprecedented times and we rely on donations to fund our work.

Sean Fletcher and Mimi
Sean Fletcher and Mimi (Sean Fletcher/PA)

“Each of our life-changing dogs costs £13 a day to support, that’s £100,000 every single day.

“Voting is open to all, dog owners or not, giving everyone the chance to help us raise funds to support those in the UK living with sight loss.”