Housebuilder pledges support to charity

A charity which trains specialist dogs to help detect diseases will benefit from the fundraising efforts of a major regional housebuilder throughout 2014.

Medical Detection Dogs, based in Great Horwood, near Milton Keynes, has been selected as Persimmon Homes charity of the year for the region, meaning it will receive all of the funds raised by staff events and activities.

Judith Potter, deputy managing director of Persimmon Homes (Midlands), said: “Medical Detection Dogs is an extraordinary charity, doing highly specialised work to support medical research, the NHS and universities.

“Many of us here at Persimmon are animal lovers, and even more of us know someone who has been affected by cancer or lives with a complex medical condition, so when we heard about the work of this charity, we were fascinated and impressed.

“We also loved the fact that many of the dogs that the charity trains are from rescue centres, so this organisation gives them a second chance.”

The charity’s work covers two main areas – cancer detection dogs that are able to detect cancer cells in laboratory samples, and medical alert assistance dogs, trained to support individuals and identify subtle odour changes that can be the early warning signs of medical events.

Conditions which can be detected include diabetic hypoglycaemia, severe allergic reactions and narcolepsy.

The organisation receives no government support of grants, and relies wholly on trust funding and public donations. The cost of training and caring for each puppy is around £11,000.

Claire Akehurst, from Medical Detection Dogs, added: “We are grateful to Persimmon Homes Midlands for choosing Medical Detection Dogs as its charity of the year. Their support is invaluable and will help us to train more dogs that will save lives.”

Last year, Persimmon donated £8,500 to the Hannah Payne Memorial Trust to help build a family room on the children’s ward at Northampton General Hospital.