Perfect paw-traits: Stars celebrate 90 years of Guide Dogs charity

·4-min read
David Walliams, photographed with border terriers Bert and Ernie
David Walliams, photographed with border terriers Bert and Ernie

We all love our dogs, and it seems even celebrities - from David Walliams, to Simon Cowell, Tilda Swinton, and Fiona Bruce - aren’t immune to the joys of of canine companionship.

In celebration of man’s best friend, renowned portrait photographer Andy Gotts has teamed up with Guide Dogs to commemorate the charity’s 90th anniversary today.

The series features the UK’s brightest stars - along with their fluffiest friends.

Sir Derek Jacobi, Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, and Beverley Knight were among those posing with their pooches for the occasion, launching the 2021 Guide Dogs Appeal to fund life-changing services for people with sight loss.

Other names include Dion Dublin, Russell Watson, Jason Watkins, James Martin, Martin Clunes, Chris Packham, Lee Mack, Nicky Campbell, Richard Arnold, Phil Daniels, Jess Impiazzi, and Wendi Peters.

Fiona Bruce with Irish Terrier Molly
Fiona Bruce with Irish Terrier Molly

David Walliams, photographed with border terriers Bert and Ernie, said: “Guide Dogs is such an amazing charity and is one of the first charities you hear about as a child. My dogs mean everything to me so I can only imagine the incredible bond a person has with their guide dog.

“I’m delighted to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first four guide dog partnerships and please get involved with the Guide Dogs Appeal, if you can, to help fund the next 90 years.”

Tilda Swinton with Springer Spaniel called Louis
Tilda Swinton with Springer Spaniel called Louis

The UK’s first guide dog partnership qualified in October 1931 – and at any one time the charity is responsible for 8,400 puppies and dogs.

Andy Gotts, notable for his portraits of Hollywood greats such as Paul Newman and George Clooney, volunteered his time as part of a range activities Guide Dogs is holding to celebrate the anniversary.

Dion Dublin with Maggie (Andy Gotts)
Dion Dublin with Maggie (Andy Gotts)

Gotts added: "Needless to say, for my career sight is important, so I have always thought that helping a charity like Guide Dogs that supports people with a vision impairment is something I would love to do."

The series kicks off a range of fundraising events encouraged by the charity around the theme of ‘90’ years - whether a 1990s party, a 90km walk, or a 90-cake strong bake sale.

Simon Cowell with Squiddly, Diddly, Freddy and Daisy
Simon Cowell with Squiddly, Diddly, Freddy and Daisy

Pam White, National Community Fundraising Campaigns Manager, said: “We’re so incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 90 years. This October, we celebrate 90 years since our first four dogs changed those first four lives. Since then, we’ve been there for people with sight loss and those around them – every day and every step of the way.

“As we’ve grown, so have our services, provided by brilliant and dedicated people working alongside our fantastic dogs. It would be great if you can help and support our 90th appeal, so we can continue to support those who need us.

Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton with Molly - a rescue dog , Cairn Terrier cross
Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton with Molly - a rescue dog , Cairn Terrier cross

“Sight loss isn’t going away. But neither are we! With new services, new technologies and our amazing staff, dogs and supporters, we plan to double the amount of people we help by 2023, helping them to help people with sight loss live actively, live independently and live well.”

To celebrate Guide Dogs 90 Appeal, and to help fund its life-changing services for the next 90 years visit their website.

Find the full list of the stars and their dogs here:

David Walliams with Border terriers Bert and Ernie

Simon Cowell with Squiddly, Diddly, Freddy and Daisy

Tilda Swinton with Springer Spaniel called Louis

Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton with Molly - a rescue dog , Cairn Terrier cross

Beverley Knight with rescue dog Zain from Spain

Dion Dublin with Maggie

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, with rescue dog Maggie

Fiona Bruce with Irish Terrier Molly

Sir Derek Jacobi with Irish Terrier Daisy

Russell Watson with Muffin the Shitzu

Jason Watkins with Georgie

James Martin with a Cocker Spaniel called Cooper, and a little Lhasa Apso called Ralph

Martin Clunes with 4 dogs left to right (Bob Jackson – Cocker Spaniel; Jim – Parson’s Jack Russell; Penny – Jackahuahua and Heidi – Cocker Spaniel and Bob Jackson’s mum).

Chris Packham with Miniature Poodles Sid and Nancy

Lee Mack with silver Labrador Ludo

Nicky Campbell with West Highland Terrier Max and 2 Labradors

Richard Arnold with Cockapoo Clemmie

Phil Daniels with Chico

Jess Impiazzi with Guide Dog Witchert

Wendi Peters with 3 dogs left to right (Springer Spaniels Edie, Dorothy and Ted).

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