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Calling creative kids - Here is how to help Norwich’s dog-on-wheels raise cash for coronavirus charities

PUBLISHED: 12:26 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 15 May 2020

Hector the Beagle, who uses a wheelchair to help him get around. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Hector the Beagle, who uses a wheelchair to help him get around. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

Children – send us your stories and pictures of favourite dogs, real or imaginary, and help Norwich’s dog-on-wheels Hector raise money for charities fighting coronavirus.

Hector the Beagle uses a wheelchair to help him get around.  Picture: Neil DidsburyHector the Beagle uses a wheelchair to help him get around. Picture: Neil Didsbury

It’s not just people who are helping raise cash for coronavirus charities. A Norwich dog famous for getting about with the help of his own wheelchair has his own fun home-schooling challenge.

Hector the beagle has appeared on national television and starred in a book. Now he wants to be the star of children’s stories and paintings, as he does his bit to raise money for local coronavirus good causes.

Hector was born with disabled front legs and gets around by propelling a custom-made wheelchair with his back legs. He was taken in as a puppy by Victoria Haddon, and her family, of Unthank Road, Norwich.

“He literally stops the traffic when we go out, so many people come up to us and ask about his story,” said Victoria, last year. “There have been some near-death experiences, but he’s a survivor. A lot of the mishaps have been Hector trying to follow Reggie on an adventure and not taking his wheels into account!”

Hector the Beagle uses a wheelchair to help him get around. Victoria Haddon has written a  book about his adventures. Picture: Neil DidsburyHector the Beagle uses a wheelchair to help him get around. Victoria Haddon has written a book about his adventures. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Hector was born with no bones in one front leg, and problems with the other, and desperately needed a home. The Haddon family already had a beagle – but were soon convinced that Reggie needed a little beagle brother. At first they carried Hector around, but as he grew heavier and wanted to go further, they discovered a company making canine wheelchairs. Hector was reluctant to try it, but a trail of sausages brought a breakthrough and now there is sometimes literally no stopping him as he races around winning friends and admirers.

His popularity led Victoria to write a book about Hector and Reggie and while out walking the dogs she had an idea which to encourage children to read and write during the coronavirus crisis.

“Hector’s story is largely about succeeding in the face of adversity, so a positive, feel-good message,” she said. “I was thinking about all the children at home, how to encourage them to read and how challenging it must be for parents. I wondered about doing something that would encourage reading, provide some entertainment at home and at the same time raise some funds for charity.”

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So we have joined Victoria and Hector to launch a children’s art and short story competition. And two winners will be treated to a day out at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse after it reopens, thanks to Norfolk Museums Service.

Email us a photograph of your work of art featuring Hector, or your favourite dog, or email a very short story (maximum 300 words) and we will showcase some of the best. The creators of the two winning works will be invited to meet Hector, and win a family ticket to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse after it reopens.

Find out more about Hector in Hector’s Wheels by Victoria Haddon, with pictures by Norwich illustrator Sophia Fletcher. To arrange to buy a copy, email victoria.haddon66@outlook.com Books, signed with a paw print from Hector, cost £7.99, plus 50p towards postage and packing, and all profits (£3 per book) will go to Covid-19 Norfolk Community Response Fund.

Email your children’s stories, and photographs of their pictures, or even a photo of them holding their picture, to rowan.mantell@archant.co.uk by Friday May 29.

Remember to include the child’s name, address and age, and a contact telephone number and email. Archant competition rules apply.


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