ACTIVE staff at Eastcott Vets are preparing to tackle a team adventure challenge to raise £10,000 to sponsor and name a guide dog puppy.

A total of 22 vets, nurses and administrators at the veterinary practice will hike, cycle and kayak in the Lake District as part of the Coniston Challenge next week.

They have spent the last few months training and raising funds for this challenge and they hope to name the puppy Edison after their new veterinary hospital, which opened at Edison Park, Dorcan Way.

Head nurse Clare Sparling said originally only one team was going to tackle the challenge, but other staff were inspired to sign up so there are now four teams: the retrievers, the terriers, the boxers and the poodles.

She said: “We have quite a lot of guide dogs here as patients so we see them and we see the importance they have to their owners.

“So it’s definitely a very worthwhile cause and our clients that are registered here with their dogs have been very supportive.”

The Coniston Challenge, on September 10, will test teamwork and stamina by challenging participants to complete a course within 10 hours.

Teams must traverse the fells and hike up to The Old Man of Coniston, bike the trails of the Grizedale Forest and kayak on Coniston Water.

Since they signed up for the challenge in the winter, the staff have been tackling training activities, including hiking around the Swindon area. Personal trainer Mervyn Harrowven also gave up his time free of charge every Sunday from May until July to get the staff into shape.

Clare said: “I think the challenge will be tough.

“I do quite a lot of exercise, a few of us do do a fair bit, and I did climb Mt Kilimanjaro earlier in the year and I’m hoping it won’t be as tough as that.

“I’m looking forward to all of us going out there together which will be really good.”

The staff held fundraising activities over the last few months, including a ball at Alexandra Park in July, which raised about £2,500.

Attractions at the ball included a raffle and an auction with top prizes and live music from local band The Brink.

They have raised £6,500 as a practice and hope each team member will also be able to raise about £200 in personal sponsorship to push the total over £10,000.

Other fundraisers included a curry night at the Bombay Lounge Indian Restaurant in April and various functions at the practice, including wine and cheese nights.

To sponsor the Eastcott teams, visit

Sponsorship forms are also available at Eastcott branches.