New police dogs named after MND Heroes
We've named some of our police pups in honour of inspirational figures who’ve been affected by motor neurone disease (MND) - with a special surprise for our former Assistant Chief Constable.
We've christened our latest litter of 11 Springer Spaniels after ‘MND Heroes’ to mark today's (21 June) Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day.
In doing so we surprised our former ACC Chris Johnson by naming one of the two-week-old pups Cheeky - his nickname by colleagues - in his honour.
Father-of-two Chris was diagnosed with the terminal disease in 2018 and continued to work for almost two years before retiring. He has carried on raising awareness and also fundraise towards research into the disease since.
It was his initial idea to name some of our pups after MND heroes – completely unaware we were going to name one after him.
The others have been named:
PD Doddie – after former rugby union player Doddie Weir
PD Burrow – ex-Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow MBE
PD Darby – after former Liverpool, Notts County and Bradford City footballer Stephen Darby
PD Len – after ex-Burnley, Bury and Swansea City football player Lenny Johnrose
PD Rimmer – after former soldier Chris Rimmer who set up the MND Warriors support group
PD Moss – after Emma Moss who runs the Mummy with MND blog
PD Primrose – after Primrose Hospice
PD Hawkie – after Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkins whose raised awareness of MND
PD Blue – colour for MND
PD Rollo – after retired sergeant John Rollason who was nicknamed Rollo. He was diagnosed in 2018 and sadly passed away last month.
Chief Superintendent Lee Wharmby said: "We're incredibly proud to be able to name some of our new police dogs after MND heroes.
“We felt privileged when Chris approached us with idea – and it was then we set about organising our own surprise by calling one after his nickname.
“It was a special moment when he met Cheeky for the first time and we hope all our dogs will go on to be as inspirational as their namesakes.”
Amy Kilpatrick, is a regional fundraiser for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and has been working with the Johnson family and West Midlands Police. She said:
“I had the privilege of meeting the MND Heroes litter when they were just a few days old and immediately became the envy of all my colleagues.
“This is a really unusual but perfect way to honour Chris Johnson and others who are living with this brutal disease and a wonderful way to raise awareness – imagine how many people will meet them, ask their names and so learn a little about MND.
“We are proud to welcome all these future Police Dogs to the MND community and look forward to watching their careers develop.”
You can donate to the Motor Neurone Charity here