Have afternoon tea at the Ritz with Angela Rippon

Angela Rippon
Angela Rippon
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She is a former newsreader, dancer, TV presenter and president of Sheffield charity Support Dogs . Catherine Scott reports.

When Angela Rippon heard about the amazing work that Sheffield charity Support Dogs wanted to do, she jumped at the chance to be its honorary president.

“It was not a big national charity, it was a small charity which wanted to make a big difference and that’s what I really liked about it,” says the 71-year-old television presenter.

The Yorkshire Post’s Christmas Appeal and auction is hoping to raise enough money to fund the training of a Support Dog for a Yorkshire family – which costs around £18,000.

“I have seen first hand the incredible difference these dogs make to people’s lives,” continues Angela. “When it started out it was dogs for people with disabilities but over the years it has expanded and developed to include seizure alert dogs for people with epilepsy. I am still in awe of how they do it.

“It is the freedom that these dogs bring to their owners. People who didn’t dare go out because they were worried that they would have a seizure without warning. I have heard of some people being robbed while they were having a seizure. Now they can now go out because their Support Dog alerts them if they are about to have a seizure. It is truly amazing. They have brought freedom to so many people.”

Having grown up with dogs and presented Crufts for a number of year for the BBC, Angela has a great affection for our four-legged friends.

“I have always been aware that dogs have the most extraordinary senses that as humans we can’t start to understand.”

Support Dog was founded in 1992 and over the year Angela says she has done her best to support its work.

“They have the most brilliant teams of professional training the dogs that do the work. They have trained more than 200 dogs but they can only help a small number of people who apply. I wish we could help all the people.”

Support Dogs now also trains Autism Assistance Dogs who have helped changed the lives of people, many children, with autism.

“Over the years I have met many people and their dogs who have benefitted from the charity.”

And Angela has given her backing to The Yorkshire Post’s charity auction. She has even offered a prize, of afternoon tea with her at the Ritz in London.

“I am absolutely thrilled that The Yorkshire Post are supporting this amazing charity,” she said. “They are relatively small but do a really big job.”

When not supporting charities Angela Rippon is still hosting daytime consumer show Rip Off Britain with Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville and also making documentaries for the BBC.

And she has no plans to stop working any time soon.

“I will make television programmes as long as people keep asking me. The only things I do regret with my hectic schedule is that I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with close family and friends.”

www.supportdogs.org.uk

YOU can enjoy afternoon tea with Angela Rippon by taking part in The Yorkshire Post’s Christmas charity auction. The highest bidder will enjoy this special opportunity at the Ritz – but hurry as you only have until Friday to place your bid.

And this is just one lot in our Christmas charity auction in aid of Support Dogs. Bidding on the first 10 lots closes on Friday and on Saturday another 10 will be unveiled. See www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/appeal to take part.