Dog sponsored in Jim's memory

2009 March 06

Created by Peggy 10 years ago
Dog sponsored in Jim's memory Three tennis players took part in a marathon to leave a lasting tribute to their coach by sponsoring a guide dog puppy. County tennis captain Mark Taylor, along with coaches Wayne Tideswell and Graeme Milligan, raised £5,000 by running the Chicago marathon last year. The three, along with supporter Dan Rock, flew over to America in October to take part in the 26.2-mile race, raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. But after coach Jim Bailey died in January after a long battle with motor neurone disease, the runners contacted the charity to see if a puppy could be named after him. The trio handed the cash over to the charity this weekend at the Northampton Road tennis courts, Kettering, where Mr Bailey, who was described by friends as a tennis fanatic, spent much of his time. Mr Tideswell, from Kettering, said the marathon turned out to more gruelling than they thought. He said: "We hadn't done anything like this and we trained for 10 months. Usually in Chicago in October it's cold, but on the day they had freak temperatures and it was about 80 to 90C. A police helicopter was flying overhead, telling us to start walking and 400 people were taken to hospital. They even started running out of water. I wanted to do it in under four hours but because we were being advised to walk, I did it in four hours and 28 minutes." He added: "We thought £5,000 was a good target and that's how much it is to train a guide dog. It will be nice if Bailey is a local dog so that Jim's widow can keep track of it." The money will fund the whole of Bailey's training, through to being homed with a blind person. Bob Pooley, who represents the guide dogs charity and is chairman of the tennis club, said: "The puppy has been named Bailey in memory of tennis coach and former county tennis captain, Jim Bailey, who was a cornerstone of local tennis for many years and who, sadly, died earlier this year after a long illness." Bailey will arrive for training with the Kettering and Corby branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind in the next few months to start his training, which will last three years. Mr Bailey's legacy will also be carried on by his family, who are fundraising for motor neurone disease charities in memory of the 72-year-old, who spent his last days at Cransley Hospice. To see more about the fundraising appeal visit www.jim.bailey.muchloved.com. We are very grateful to Becky Inman for granting us permission to reproduce this article on the website.

Pictures