Buddy inspired guide dogs run

Daran Bland and Chelsea Turnell with their medals from Sunday's Great Eastern Run.
Daran Bland and Chelsea Turnell with their medals from Sunday's Great Eastern Run.
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A woman’s first-ever pet dog, a cute “ball of fluff” called Buddy, is taking puppy love to an extreme because he has inspired his devoted owner to run the London Marathon.

Chelsea Turnell (26), communications and marketing manager at Spalding Grammar School, said: “It’s made me realise how close the relationship between a dog and a human can be – and I started thinking about how much closer that bond would be between a blind person and their guide dog.”

Chelsea aims to raise £2,000 for Guide Dogs UK and her friend and training partner, Daran Bland (45), executive head of three special schools – including the Priory and Garth in Spalding – has set himself the same cash target for the charity, Action for Children.

Their training saw them take on the Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on Sunday, Daran finishing in 1hr 43ms and Chelsea in 2hrs 35ms

Daran said: “At the 12-mile point of the half-marathon, I realised how much more training I needed to do.

“I hit the wall and at that point I felt like I was running in treacle and people were coming past me at quite a rate of knots.

Chelsea with her inspiration for running, pet dog Buddy.

Chelsea with her inspiration for running, pet dog Buddy.

“It was useful to gauge just how our training was going.

“It was a lot of fun and a really great atmosphere on the day.”

Chelsea told us: “It was without a doubt the hardest thing physically and mentally that I have ever done, but I am so proud that I did it, and the support from other runners and my family on the day is what got me through.”

As well as fitting in a training schedule for the marathon on Sunday, April 24, Chelsea is busy making plans for her wedding on August 13 to Spalding Rugby Club hero Harry Sharman.

It was without a doubt the hardest thing physically and mentally that I have ever done, but I am so proud that I did it, and the support from other runners and my family on the day is what got me through.

Chelsea Turnell on the Great Eastern Run

Chelsea has organised a quiz night for Guide Dogs UK at the rugby club at 7.30pm on Friday, November 27, and is looking for teams of up to six people to enter at a cost of £12 per team.

Because the club has donated free use of its premises, Chelsea will split the proceeds of the raffle between her charity and the club.

To take part, or to donate a raffle prize, please call 07776 130037 or 07834 959921.

Chelsea’s best friend, Daisy Ivatt, a former Spalding Flower Queen, is Daran’s partner.

Executive headteacher Daran Bland is running to help children with disabilities and their families.

Executive headteacher Daran Bland is running to help children with disabilities and their families.

Daran says Action for Children helps children with disabilities in schools like his.

“Action for Children is something that’s close to my heart because I work with children and families who will benefit,” he said.

Family and friends were there to support Daran and Chelsea as they ran the half marathon on Sunday and so was Buddy, the bichon frise and shih tzu cross – known as a shichon – who came into Chelsea’s life in January.

“He’s a little, cute ball of fluff,” said Chelsea. “He looks like a walking cloud.”

Apart from a goldfish, Chelsea says her family didn’t have animals because her mum, Linda, has a fur allergy – although she describes Buddy as “hypoallergenic” because he doesn’t shed hair.