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Plenty of excitement and drama at this year's Vet Charity Challenge

It may have been the toughest event yet, but the teams that took part in last week’s Vet Charity Challenge certainly rose to the part. Spurred on by their commitment to raise funds for three very deserving animal charities, 50 teams from vet practice and industry overcame a series of physical and mental challenges to see who would take the winner’s trophy. That title went to the BVC Bashers from Belmont Veterinary Centre in Hereford for the second year running, who streaked ahead with 880 points out of a possible total of 1,000.

BVC team leader Andrew Cooke said “All four of the team had a fantastic day, all a little bit sore, but well worth the effort. The event is great for team bonding and we enjoyed meeting other people from other practices. We look forward to coming back next year and trying for the hat-trick.”

The beautiful Wiltshire countryside provided all the elements needed to test the mettle of the teams in orienteering, kayaking and cycling tasks, as well as a number of puzzle-solving challenges.  Using St Francis School near Marlborough as a base, the 50 teams competed to see who could work best together to finish the day with the highest score.

Kirsty Wills-Mace, from Vets4Pets team, 3 Birds and a Fella commented, “The challenge is awesome fun, with the really important goal of trying to raise as much money as possible for the supported charities.  I’d say that training helps, but anyone can have a go, and the day is a great opportunity to get to know your team mates better and really gel.”

Contestant and charity trustee Gavin Mitchell from sponsors BCF Technology said, “It was a tough challenge this year and those Wiltshire hills were pretty gruelling, but the sense of achievement at the end was palpable in the air. Everyone justly felt very proud of their efforts and we hope to turn that well-earned pride into money for our supported charities. The challenge raised £70,000 in its first two years and we’re aiming with public support to top the £100,000 mark with this year’s event.”

And as if the terrain didn’t prove enough of a challenge, Team Kruuse added further drama along the way by rescuing a dog from the Pewsey canal during their kayaking stage. The Kruuse contestants spotted the elderly dog struggling to climb the steep banks of the canal before repeatedly falling back into the water. They managed to haul the exhausted animal up onto their kayak before paddling downstream to a waiting crew of vets and nurses. The dog was whisked away to a nearby surgery where it subsequently made a good recovery.

The charities supported by the event this year were Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, along with Cats Protection and SPANA, both of whom entered teams on the day. This year will also see the introduction of a Bursary Scheme where a team can apply for funding to work with an animal charity. The Vet Charity Challenge is sponsored by companies BCF Technology, Kruuse and Vétoquinol and supported by Mojo Consultancy, the VMPA and Veterinary Practice magazine. Next year’s event is already being planned and interest can be expressed through the website www.vetcharitychallenge.co.uk or Facebook.com/VetCharityChallenge.

A video of the challenge can be watched here

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