A 73-year-old Cupar man is donning his running shoes tomorrow (Saturday) to help keep the memory of his ‘best friend’ alive.
Peter Rieu-Clarke was devastated when his beloved dog Boicey died during a holiday in France a year ago.
He wanted to make sure his faithful pet would never be forgotten - so he set out to raise the £2500 he needed to name a guide dog puppy after him.
After he lost Boicey, Peter, who is chairman of Cupar Hard of Hearing Group, first thought of becoming a puppy walker for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.
But as he doesn’t live in the organisation’s catchment area, he became involved in the Guide Dogs charity instead - after reading an article in the Fife Herald about puppy walkers.
Now he and his wife Polly are proud walkers of Hector, a black labrador in training to be a guide dog, while he raises funds to name a puppy after Boicey.
So far, Peter’s raised some £900 and tomorrow he faces his biggest challenge to date - the Edinburgh 10k.
“I found out from the Guide Dogs website that I could name a guide dog puppy after Boicey and decided to do this,” said Peter.
“How could I raise £2500 was the next problem.
“I decided that I would walk the Fife Coastal Path - I am scheduled to finish that at the beginning of July - and while researching this I came across the ‘Jog Scotland’ website.
“That led me to ‘Get Fit Falkland’ a subsidiary of ‘Falkland Trail Runners’. They had a ‘Couch to 5K’ course which started in January.
“I needed to get fit and enrolled - at 73 I am the oldest.
“I decided to make completion of the course my first challenge. The graduation for the course was a park run on May 21 in St Andrews.
“I completed the run in 31minutes and 58 seconds and I am now doing the next course, which is 5 to 10 K.
“This gave me confidence to do another challenge and I enrolled in the Edinburgh EMF 10K race - which is the big one.”
Now Peter is looking for as much support as possible to help him reach his target and as well as setting up a Just Giving page - www.justgiving.com/Boicey - he also has a collection box at the Caring for Cupar shop in Crossgate where people can donate.
In addition, the running club Peter attends weekly, Leven Las Vegas, have named Guide Dogs as their chosen charity for the next 10-week training session, which should boost the total by another £200.
In the meantime, Hector has settled in well and enjoys his walks and twice monthly obedience training classes.
“For his age he is by far the best in the class,” said Peter.
“He is welcome in the local shops and comes with me to Hard of Hearing Group meetings where he meets hearing dog Spike.
“ Every day is a new experience to him.”
At present, Hector is at the Guide Dogs training centre in Forfar undergoing tests for an ongoing tummy problem, but is expected to be given the all-clear to return to Peter and Polly next week.
Boicey - named after the character in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ - was a collie/labrador cross who had been with the couple since he was 14 weeks old, at first living with them at their home in France , then moving to Cupar with them in 2009.
Said Peter: “Not only was he my best friend but I truly believe that I was his best friend.”