More than 450 of you voted and while it was close at the top, there is a winner in our hunt for the 2013 beneficiary of the Jam Jar Army.
Taking almost a third of the reader vote for this year’s charity was SHAK (Safe Homes and Kindness), which aims to help the dogs in Northumberland no one else will – large-breed dogs.
Stephen Wylie, who set up SHAK in 2006, said he was ‘absolutely gobsmacked’ that his charity had won the public vote.
“There were some very, very worthy causes in there and we were up against some strong competition.
“It’s a double whammy to have won it because it also shows there’s tremendous support out there.
“It will just transform the charity. Because of what we do and some of the dogs we have, knowing that money will be coming in will make a massive difference.
“The volunteers have done a magnificent job getting the support and I’m sure they will be 110 per cent behind the campaign.”
SHAK provides a sanctuary for unwanted dogs who usually come to the kennels, based at a farmhouse north of Alnwick, with health issues (often caused by starvation and abuse) and behavioural problems (often caused by mis-treatment).
Vets bills are one of the biggest costs for SHAK as many of the dogs who are rescued have been abandoned /abused and are in need of medical treatment.
Some are abandoned because they require long-term medical treatment and the owners either choose not to spend the money on them or simply cannot afford it.
Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “We were overwhelmed with the response to both the nomination process and the reader vote, which shows how valuable the Jam Jar Army is and how it has become an important part of community life in north Northumberland.
“I wish SHAK good luck for the fund-raising over the coming year and hope that thousands of pounds are raised.”
The collecting will start in earnest for the new campaign from March 1, so anyone with jars of change for the Playhouse Youth Theatre is asked to get them in over the next two weeks so that the fund-raising can begin afresh for SHAK from next month.