Racegoers Raise Hundreds For Greyhound Homing Charity


04 July 2024

Charitable racegoers raised hundreds of pounds in support of a greyhound homing charity on Friday as Sunderland Stadium remembered its previous owner, Harry Williams. 

More than £450 was pledged to Durham and District Retired Greyhounds, a charity affiliated to Sunderland Stadium, in support of its work to find suitable and loving homes for greyhounds recently retired from racing. 

The night celebrated the life of ‘Geordie Gentleman’ Harry Williams – a former owner and trainer whose golden hour in the sport came in 1993 when he won the Scottish Greyhound Derby with New Level. 

A selection of the evening’s races were named in honour of Harry and some of his most memorable greyhounds, including Pond Neptune, Allowdale Bruno and Soda Pop. 

Some of the UK’s fastest and most promising greyhounds were attracted to the track too as Tom Heilbron’s Untold Ruble scooped the £7,500 Arena Racing Company Puppy Cup while Acomb Irene landed the £1,500 Harry Williams BGBF Blue Artisan British Bred final. 

Heilbron doubled up later when Unanimous Lean won the first Harry Williams Memorial Trophy from kennelmate Magical Rubble. 

Joanne Wilson, general manager at Sunderland Stadium, thanked all racegoers for their generosity and support in making the evening a success. 

“Harry was a true gentleman and is much missed by everyone connected to the greyhound racing community,” said Joanne. “It was touching to see so many people celebrate his achievements accomplished both on and off the track during an excellent night of racing. 

“He was genuine, down to earth guy who had his greyhounds at the heart of what he did and was a strong advocate for what great pets retired greyhounds make.

“A big congratulations to our open race winners on the night including connections of Untold Ruble who was a much-deserved winner of our feature puppy competition.”  

Based near Crook on the edge of the North Pennines, Durham and District Retired Greyhounds champions greyhounds as fun, loving, pets in retirement by pairing suitable owners and homes with an appropriate dog.

The charity recently regenerated its outdoor paddock space and can now house up to 30 retired greyhounds of all ages and temperaments.

Alison Waggot of Durham and District Retired Greyhounds added: “Greyhounds make wonderful pets when they finish their racing careers and are loving, kind, gentle and can quickly adapt to family life. 

“Contrary to belief, they require very little exercise – two short walks each day is often all that’s required as they can sleep up to 20-hours each day. Spreading this message to racegoers is an important aspect of our work and we’re very grateful for the funds raised at the weekend.”

Rita Williams, wife of Harry, added: “There was a real party atmosphere trackside which contributed to a wonderful evening. 

“Everyone had a great night remembering Harry and a special mention to all at Sunderland Stadium who went above and beyond to deliver a memorable event. Losing Harry was devastating, but Arena Racing Company has been very supportive to the family and hopefully we can run a similar themed night again in the future.” 

Further information about Durham and District Retired Greyhounds is available online by clicking here.

Sunderland Greyhound Stadium

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