FOR Les Slinn and his band of fundraisers their labours bore fruit in the shape of a Labrador-retriever yesterday as they were visited by Swindon Guide Dogs’ newest addition.
Puppy Froome attended the fitness trainer’s gym in West Swindon and captured the hearts of the 18 riders who cycled the 300 miles from London to Paris in just four days last July to raise money for the local charity.
The team smashed their fundraising target of £5,000, which they set knowing it would pay for the training of a guide dog for the first year, and managed to rake in an extra £2,000, meaning they can also pay for the upkeep, food and vets bills of the dog for 60 weeks.
Les said the team asked for local charities to apply and Swindon Guide Dogs emerged as the people’s choice following a vote. He said he was delighted with the amount they had managed to raise.
“It’s a fantastic amount and Froome is brilliant, it’s great to able to see where the funds have gone,” the 52-year-old said.
“Everyone fell in love with him and he is a beautiful dog. I think we all wanted to take him home ourselves. “But hopefully, if he passes the training, he will go to help someone locally.
“That’s what we wanted to do when choosing the charity was do something that would benefit people in Swindon. “Swindon Guide Dogs was the clear winner.”
The team finished their challenge in Paris on the last day of the Tour de France last year and, in honour of its British winner Chris Froome, a second vote came out in favour of calling the dog Froome.
Alan Fletcher, the chairman of the charity, said he was pleased to be the beneficiary of the team’s fundraising.
He said: “£5,000 trains a puppy for a year so it is fantastic that they raised so much.
“Les was looking for a charity and so we wrote to him. We were thrilled when they chose us. “And they were over the moon to see Froome at the gym. It was nice for them to see what they have achieved.”
The puppy will now be trained by Cricklade-based Charlotte Marshall-Reynolds before potentially making it as a guide dog by the time he is two years old.