Norfolk nurse's 'lightbulb moment' leads to star-studded dog show panel

Jake Humphrey has been confirmed as a judge for Britain’s Next Top Dog 2021, inspired by a nurse from Norfolk 

Jake Humphrey has been confirmed as a judge for Britain’s Next Top Dog 2021, inspired by a nurse from Norfolk - Credit: Cancer Research UK

A retired Norfolk nurse has helped inspire some of the nation's best-loved celebrities to throw their weight behind a new show to find the country’s best pet pooches. 

Fee Sharples, 65 and from Hardingham, has raised funds for life-saving research after she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

Fee Sharples, with her three-year old black Labrador, Inca, and her 12-year-old Norfolk terrier, Pickle

Fee Sharples, pictured with her three-year old black Labrador, Inca, and her 12-year-old Norfolk terrier, Pickle - Credit: Cancer Research UK

With the support of her husband John, a retired army officer, Mrs Sharples has pledged to give back to Cancer Research UK for the life-saving treatment she has received since her diagnosis in 2014. 

Her story has been picked up by a host of celebrities including Stephen Fry, Jake Humphrey, Claire Balding, Graham Norton and Jeremy Vine.

Jake Humphrey during filming for Britain’s Next Top Dog 2021

Jake Humphrey during filming for Britain’s Next Top Dog 2021 - Credit: Cancer Research UK

They have backed Mrs Sharples in search of the nation's top dogs. The celebrity line-up for Britain’s Next Top Dog 2021 will judge photographs sent in by the public on themes such as Puppy Dog, Urban Dog, Off-Road Dog, Pampered Dog, Working Dog and Playful Dog. 

The competition starts on May 15 with the winner to be announced on June 30 with all profits going to Cancer Research UK.

Mrs Sharples said: "I thought my ‘lightbulb’ moment might generate some interest but I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that we would get so many famous people supporting us.

Most Read

"When I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer my daughter Sarah was getting married six months later and we all wondered if I would make the wedding. In some ways I consider myself a medical miracle because I’m still here seven years later."

Fee Sharples and her husband John pictured at their home in Hardingham 

Fee Sharples and her husband John pictured at their home in Hardingham - Credit: Cancer Research UK

 

It was during a routine mammogram that Mrs Sharple’s breast cancer was discovered.

Her treatment has included three different types of hormone therapy and while she is now on chemotherapy, she has also benefited from taking part in a Cancer Research UK-funded trial.

Stephen Fry has told Norfolk school staff 'be kind to yourself'.

Stephen Fry has told Norfolk school staff 'be kind to yourself'. - Credit: Submitted

The former NHS worker is an experienced fundraiser having previously raised over £11,000 for Cancer Research UK, £217,000 in aid of Help for Heroes and £53,000 for Veterans Norfolk.

Mr Fry, who has a home in Norfolk, said: "I’m very happy indeed to be a judge for Britain's TOP DOG and much looking forward to pawing through the entries raising money for Cancer Research UK." 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter