Dog Show 2018 a great success

Skye, an Akita/Bulldog, from Alness was chosen as top dog at our 3rd Helmsdale Dog Show earlier this month to the delight of owner Greg. Skye, who also won Best Cross Breed, was up against 38 other competitors to win the accolade.

Over 100 people were in attendance to watch as the dogs went up against each other in 11 categories, including Best Pedigree, Best Veteran and Waggiest Tail. Competitors gathered from villages across Sutherland, including Bonar Bridge, Brora, Golspie, Helmsdale, Portgower and Rogart. Others travelled a greater distance from Alness, Invergordon, Inverness and Portmahomack. Most impressive though, were those who hailed from Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy and Puddletown (Dorset). Beccy Clay, owner of Tess the Pointer/Setter made the journey for the third year running from Drumbeg.

As well as the competition categories, each dog was able to take part in the Fastest Recall challenge in which the time it took them to reach their owner, with a number of distractions along the way, was recorded. The fastest small dog, Kayla the Shih Tzu (owned by Nicki Hughes from Brora), and fastest large dog, Skye the Border Collie (owned by Hannah Munro from Portmahomack) received an engraved glass from Alsorts Arts and Crafts to mark their win and some Tecxys herby dog treats, made by Sandra Mackenzie in Rogart.

dog show18 5The Judge on the day, for the second year running, was Annabell Broom from Aunty Annabell’s Dog Training. Annabell had her work cut out for her with 26 different breeds in total. The final category of the Show was the Dog the Judge would most like to take home. After much deliberation, Annabell chose Mac of Springfield the Teckel, owned by young Ailsa Shaw from Helmsdale.

Mini Reiki sessions with Kareen were available on the day for both dogs and owners. Tea, coffee, soup, sandwiches and home baking were on offer in the Community Centre hall, alongside table-top displays from The Highland Hound, Crafty Crofter, Yvonne’s Wee Honesty Box, Highlands of Scotland Pets as Therapy, Weaving Heart Wood, SSPCA, Jo Henderson’s Crafts, and the Helmsdale Village Hub Pop-Up Shop.

For the third year, Easter Ross Vets very kindly supported the cost of rosettes for the winners. A variety of raffle prizes were on offer courtesy of a number of local businesses and individuals including Maisie’s Daisies, Spar Helmsdale, La Mirage and Nicki Hughes.

The Helmsdale Dog Show is organised and run by our Helmsdale Village Hub and the event raised £830, which will go towards the running of the  Hub.

Wendy Simmonds, Hub Project Lead said: “We had such a wonderful turn-out this year. It was great to see many familiar faces and some new competitors too. Our thanks must go to all of those individuals and organisations who were involved, including Annabell Smith, Easter Ross Vets, Ossie and Kareen from Rogart, Waverly Engineering, our volunteers, those who had tables in the hall and everyone who came along on the day. The Dog Show seems to be growing year on year, which is great to see. Our dogs are family and it’s great to have a day especially for them. We’re also very pleased that the rain stayed away this time after a couple of very wet Dog Shows in the past!”

Results from Helmsdale Dog Show

Best Pedigree

1st: Boorach (3 yrs), Red & White Irish Setter. Owner: Dean Cowie, Helmsdale

2nd: Mac of Springfield (7 yrs), Teckel. Owner: Ailsa Shaw, Helmsdale

3rd: Balach (9 mths), working Cocker Spaniel. Owner: Ian Whitehead, Helmsdale

Best Cross-breed

1st: Skye (1 yr), Akita/Bull. Owner Greg, Alness

2nd: Marcie (2 yrs), Jack Russell/Chihuahua. Owner: Jenny Morrison, Inverness

3rd: Lexi (3 yrs), Staffie/Akita. Owner: Mandy Baird, Bonar Bridge

dog show18 2Best small dog

1st: Cassie (12 months), West Highland Terrier. Owner: Chris Gray, Edinburgh

2nd: Kayla (2 yrs), Shih Tzu. Owner: Nicki Hughes, Brora

3rd: Percy (6 yrs), Chihuahua. Owner: Hilary Michael, Brora

Best large dog

1st: Fionn (7 yrs), Labrador Retriever. Owner: Carol Grant, Kirkcaldy

2nd: Mackie (2 yrs), Sprocker. Owner: Allan Bokas, Helmsdale

3rd: Tess (13 yrs), Pointer/Setter. Owner: Beccy Clay, Drumbeg

Best veteran

1st: Hettie (11 yrs), Bedlington Terrier. Owner: Hilary Michael, Brora

2nd: Titch (7 yrs), Border Terrier. Owner: A M Wallis, Invergordon

3rd: Macy (11 yrs), Chocolate Labrador. Owner: Carol Pann, Puddletown

Best in Show

1st: Skye (1 yr), Akita/Bull. Owner: Greg, Alness

2nd: Boorach (3 yrs), Red & White Irish Setter. Owner: Dean Cowie, Helmsdale

Brightest eyes

1st: Sasha (4 yrs), Border Collie. Owner: Keith Cookson, Helmsdale

2nd: Zara (18 mths), German Shepherd. Owner: Ossie Ross, Rogart

3rd: Tikka (5 yrs), Labrador. Owner: Caitlin Martin, Helmsdale

dog show18 3Best turned out

1st: Kayla (2 yrs), Shih Tzu. Owner: Nicki Hughes, Brora

2nd: Archie (5 yrs), Cairn Terrier. Owner: Robin Macleod, Helmsdale

3rd: Garty (4 yrs), Cocker Spaniel. Owner: Alister Jappy, Helmsdale

Waggiest tail

1st: Shon (7 yrs), Cocker Spaniel. Owner: S Swinton, Invergordon

2nd: Marcie (2 yrs), Jack Russell/Chihuahua. Owner: Jenny Morrison, Inverness

3rd: Tullie (3 yrs), Springador. Owner: Tani, Invergordon

Best biscuit catcher

1st: Garty (4 yrs), Cocker Spaniel. Owner: Alister Jappy, Helmsdale

2nd: Fionn (7 yrs), Labrador Retriever. Owner: Carol Grant, Kirkcaldy

3rd: Koda (7 yrs), Alaskan Malamute. Owner: Tony Harris, Portgower

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Dog the judge would most like to take home

1st: Mac of Springfield (7 yrs), Teckel. Owner: Ailsa Shaw, Helmsdale

2nd: Bobby (8 yrs), Border Collie. Owner: Caitlin Munro, Portmahomack

3rd: Bonny (6 yrs), Chinese Powder Puff. Owner: Isobel Macleod, Helmsdale

Fastest recall (small dog): Kayla (2 yrs), Shih Tzu. Owner: Nicki Hughes, Brora

Fastest recall (large dog): Skye (3 yrs), Border Collie. Owner: Hannah Munro, Portmahomack

The dogs are coming back!


New rural dementia-friendly guide

In May, Alzheimer’s Society launched their new Dementia-friendly rural communities guide, the result of the Prime Minister’s rural dementia task group. Our founder and Chair, Ann Pascoe, was a part of the task group, sharing our experience of the challenges faced by those working towards becoming more dementia-friendly in a rural location.

Our interactive screens project features in the report as a good example of a technology-related dementia-friendly initiative.

To find our more and read the report visit the Alzheimer’s Society website.

We’re looking for a Modern Apprentice!

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Big Lottery funding support

In April we were delighted to receive news that the Big Lottery Fund had approved £112,000 of funding to support our work over the next three years. This will make a huge difference for us and ensure that our work at the Helmsdale Village Hub, as well as our Dinner To Your Door and Bridge Over Troubled Waters services, will be guaranteed for the coming years.

We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for this support.

Art ‘n Blether – new programme

Our new Art ‘n Blether programme starts today, following the success of our recent series’ of sessions.

The courses take place at Helmsdale Community Centre from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoons.

18th April – Pen & Ink
25th April – Glass Painting
2nd May – Oil Painting
9th May – Pastels (oils or soft)
16th May – Any Medium, Any Subject
23rd May – Field Painting/Drawing

Each session costs £5, which is inclusive of all materials and tuition.

more information do get in touch through our website here or, by email to or by calling us on 01431 821655.

Hub Open Day 2018

openday18 3On Saturday 17th March, we held the Helmsdale Village Hub Open Day at Helmsdale Community Centre. This was a free event for the whole community, showcasing the best of what is regularly on offer at the Hub.

Throughout the day there was live music, bingo, arts & craft activities, a baking stall, mini Reiki sessions, a nail bar, exercise demonstrations, a pop-up shop, a raffle and the day was rounded off with a fantastic demonstration from local dancers. For the youngsters, the minions movie, Despicable Me 3, was shown on our large cinema style screen, there was a lucky dip and face painting.

openday18 2Our Dinner To Your Door café offered freshly made soup, sandwiches and a number of delicious puddings as well as tea, coffee and home baking.

The Open Day was a great day out for the whole family and raised a fantastic £518.

A big thank you to all those who came along and supported the event. We hope to run another Hub Open Day again in 2019!

DFC becomes a charity!

We are delighted to announce that we have now become a charity, recognised by OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The decision to move from being a Community Interest Company to a charity was taken to open up new avenues of funding and maximise on any funding received.

This change in status will have no impact on the operations of the company or our services and activities, just on our name, which is now Dementia Friendly Communities Ltd.

Help us go Highland-wide!

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Helmsdale’s 2nd Dog Show

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Winners in the Best Veteran category

Twenty-seven hardy dogs and their owners gathered in a damp Helmsdale for our 2nd Helmsdale Dog Show at the Community Centre on Saturday. Local residents were joined by visitors from the West Coast and Invershin for 11 competition categories, ranging from Best Veteran to Best Biscuit Catcher and Dog the Judge Would Most Like to Take Home.


Judge for the day was professional dog trainer Annabell Smith from Aunty Annabell’s Daytime Adventure who had her work cut out for her as she assessed the condition, behaviour and skills of 20 different breeds of dog.

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Best in Show Boorah the Irish Setter with owner Billy

Best in Show saw Vinnie the Yorkie (Best Veteran) go up against Archie the Cairn Terrier (Best Small Dog) and Tess the Pointer Cross Setter (Best Cross Breed) who all narrowly missed out to Pepper the Labrador (who won Best Large Dog) who was runner up and overall winner Boorach the Irish Setter. Boorach, who had previously excelled in the Best Pedigree category, and his owner Billy Cowie received a special rosette as well as a bag of Burns natural pet food. As well as providing this winning prize, Burns also donated goodie bags for all entrants containing a range of treats, while sponsorship from Easter Ross Vets funded the rosettes.

Other winners on the day included Sophie Sparkles the Lhasa Apso for Best Trick, Katie the Collie for Best Biscuit Catcher, Chilli the Chocolate Labrador for Waggiest Tail, and young Charlotte was awarded Best Young Handler alongside Jake the Fox Terrier Cross Jack Russell. After much deliberation Annabell chose Goose the Pointer Cross Labrador as the dog she would most like to take home.

Annabell also brought along her dog agility equipment, allowing everyone a chance to see how well their dog coped with the tunnel, the slalom or the jump.

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Winners of the Best Young Handler

A well-received pop-up café serving an array of sandwiches, quiches, cakes, and hot and cold beverages was open in the Community Centre hall alongside stalls selling the work and goods of Alsorts Arts and Crafts, Highland Hounds, Highland Candles, the SSPCA, Anne Rutt Arts and Crafts, Kenny’s of Brora and Munlochy Animal Aid. Further support for the event was given by The Bunilidh Rowing Club, Pet Pals Pet Shop (Lairg), Bliss Brora, Marine Hotel Brora, Glenmorangie, Nicki Hughes and Alder Holly and ITC Dog First Aid Courses.

Wendy Simmonds, our Project Lead at The Helmsdale Hub who organised the event, said: “We were concerned that the bad weather would have put people off, but it didn’t seem to phase the dogs or their owners at all. We had a fantastic team of volunteers, as well as Annabell our judge, who worked really hard on the day and we couldn’t have managed it without them. We’ve had some very positive feedback and it was great to see so many familiar faces from last year’s show as well as new dogs and others who had travelled from further afield to join us. Our sponsors, exhibitors and those who contributed prizes for the raffle and tombola were very generous this year and we’d like to thank them for all they did to support this really enjoyable event.”