A RECORD-BREAKING sniffer dog who died just hours after his young master was killed in Afghanistan has been posthumously honoured at a glittering canine award ceremony.
Theo, a spaniel specially-trained to detect explosive devices, was named as the 2011 ‘Hero Dog’ in the annual Dogs Trust Honours.
He was voted for by readers of the Sun newspaper, which sponsors the awards, after being nominated by Jane Duffy, mother of the 26-year-old Tayport soldier Liam Tasker, who died at the hands of a Taliban sniper in March.
Theo later suffered a seizure and died on the way back to Camp Bastion.
The pair were inseparable and during their five-month tour of duty they detected a record number of devices.
Hosted by Paul Ross, the 2011 Dogs Trust Honours took place at Haberdashers Hall in London’s Smithfield and guests included Britt Ekland, Anthony Head and Alesha Dixon.
Jane was accompanied to the event by Liam’s sisters Nicola Duffy and Laura Tasker as well as his friend, Warrant Officer Adrian Davies.
She was presented with the award by Amy Childs and Lauren Goodger, stars of the hit TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’.
“This award means so much to us,” said Jane afterwards.
“It’s very sad that Theo is no longer with us but we’re proud to be here recognising the loyalty and support he showed for our troops, especially my wonderful son Liam.
“He truly was a very special dog.”
Liam’s own efforts in Afghanistan were honoured recently when Her Royal Highness Princess Anne presented his familywith the Elizabeth Cross.
Mrs Duffy accepted the medal at a private ceremony at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray, where she was accompanied by Liam’s father Ian Tasker, his brother Ian, his two sisters Laura and Nicola and his girlfriend Leah.
Liam’s campaign medals were also presented to his mum at an earlier ceremony held in Rutland.