Charity dog hides £1k for quarter of a century
8:00pm Friday 29th June 2012 in News
A loyal charity collection dog has waited patiently for more than 25 years before finally being opened up to reveal donations of more than £1,000.
The ornamental pooch belongs to the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity but had been left unchecked at Neal's Nurseries, in Heathfield Road, Wandsworth, for more than a quarter of a century.
The charity believe the trusty old mutt slipped through their net when the employee, who brought him to the shop in the mid 1980s, left for another job.
Over the years the dog has stood firm through recessions, the fall of communism, the Blair years and the turn of the millennium - yet still no one arrived to retrieve him.
But then last week, when all hope seemed to be lost, two men from the charity turned up "out of the blue" with a clipboard and took the dog away.
After taking a whole afternoon to count the pennies, a few cheeky Euros and even a couple of £20 notes, the charity announced their four-legged friend contained a whopping £1,199.21.
Peter Chrysostomou, branch manager at Neal's Nurseries, said: "I have worked here for 10 years and the dog has been here the whole time - but an employee who has been here for 25 years says it has been here since she started.
"It eventually took two of them to pick it up it was so full - and when they did the feet broke straight off because it was so heavy."
The money will go to help train up a guide dog which now costs around £50,000 Robert Harris, from Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: "It's extremely unusual for any collection box to go so long without being emptied, but it appears this one somehow disappeared from our list a very long time ago.
"We were so pleased to discover how generous customers had been over the 25 years."
Seemingly the generosity is not all down to customers however, because it is opposite Wandsworth Prison and visitors to the jail often use the garden centre's car park.
Mr Chrysostomou said: "People always ask us if they can park here while they visit their relatives so we just tell them, 'stick a couple of quid in the dog and you can park for as long as you like'."
To find out more about guide dogs visit www.guidedogs.org.uk.
For more information about Neal's Nurseries visit www.capitalgardens.co.uk