Bridge of Feugh pups' sale will help Nepalese youngsters

A PROJECT to build a new school and boarding hostel for children in Nepal is being given a canine cash boost.

After reading a recent Piper story about a charity cycle ride by her Banchory GP to raise money for the Helambu Project in Nepal, Banchory mother-of-eight Ruth Mair decided to sell her dogs' 'Cockerdor' puppies and donate the proceeds to the project.

And one of the conditions of sale is that the new owners give their pups a Nepalese name.

Ruth's cocker spaniel, Moss and bitch labrador, Nutmeg, recently produced an unplanned litter of eight puppies.

Ruth, of Invery House, Bridge of Feugh, said: "We didn't plan to have puppies but our male cocker spaniel, Moss, has a certain way with the ladies and unfortunately Nutmeg, our female labrador, succumbed to his charms and we now have eight seven-week-old Cockerdor pups - some black, some golden, and all adorable".

Ruth's GP Dr Mike Steven, of the Banchory Group Practice, is tackling a 300-mile Edinburgh to Paris charity bike ride with colleague Dr Sandy Rough, in September - both wearing kilts!

A keen hillwalker and cyclist, Dr Steven, 36, trekked through the remote Sindhuplachok district of Helambu, Nepal, with TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle, during the filming of BBC2's Extreme Dreams, in summer 2007.

During his time there, the father-of-four was moved by the harsh living standards of the locals yet, at the same time, was humbled and overwhelmed by their kindness and hospitality.

One of the villages they passed through had no medical help and no school, so he made a promise on his return to help to raise awareness of the project and improve the situation for local children.

"Dr Steven is our family GP and I had read about his trip in the Piper", said Ruth, a full-time mother and carer. "I thought it was a very worthwhile project and so we decided to donate the proceeds from the sale of the pups to the charity. Many years ago, I was involved with a Romanian trust and we had a wonderful response from the people of Deeside so, in a way, it's nice to be able to help another charity.

"The first of the pups is going to Dr Steven and his family - he's never had a pup before! He was absolutely thrilled, delighted and very moved when I told him the money was going towards the Helambu Project.

"We'd like the owners of the new pups to given them Nepalese names. Ideas for these can be found at www.lowchenaustralia.com/names".

The pups - six bitches and two dogs - will be sold for 200 each, although two have already been reserved.

Dr Steven said: "Ruth's offer to help out was a complete surprise to me, but it is very much appreciated. I've been genuinely humbled by the number of people and organisations who have helped me over the last few months and the project goes from strength to strength.

"It really has been amazing and the total fundraising to date stands at 3,500".

Dr Steven's wife, Valerie, also a doctor, added: "We have decided to call our puppy Maya and we'll be getting her in the next week or two. Our four children are quite excited!"

For more information about buying one of Ruth's puppies, call her on (01330) 822737. To donate to the Helambu Project or for more information, visit: www.helambuproject.org