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Holiday Inn Helps Hounds

When the management team at the Holiday Inn Winchester heard that the Hampshire based charity Hounds for Heroes was in need of accommodation for the injured and disabled men and women, from the armed forces and civilian emergency services, they quickly stepped in with an offer of free and accessible hotel rooms -  for those travelling from across the UK to train with their Hounds for Heroes service dogs that will provide help and practical support to them, as well as enhancing the quality of their lives.

“There are 900,000 injured service personnel in this country and it is heartening to know that the team at the Holiday Inn Winchester care enough to want to make a difference, by helping some of our Hounds for Heroes clients with such perfect accessible accommodation for free and their generous offer of complimentary room hire for fund raising events and meetings as well,” said Allen Parton, Vice-Chairman and Founder of Hounds for Heroes.

Built just over three years ago, the Holiday Inn Winchester has been designed to be totally accessible to visitors with disabilities and has eight fully adapted rooms, with interconnecting rooms for carers, and welcomes all service dogs into the hotel.

“We are all thrilled with this connection to Hounds for Heroes and to be able to do something really positive and practical to help the injured and disabled service people who are in training with their dogs.  The charity is such a perfect fit for us as we are located in a significant military town and the hotel’s location here at Morn Hill was an important historic World War 1 site, which we believe is when service dogs were created to help those injured in the Great War,” commented Siobhan Thomasson, General Manager at the Holiday Inn Winchester.

The hotel has also offered to sponsor their private functions suites a meetings rooms free of charge to the charity for fund raising events such as dinner dances, evening talks, race nights, quiz nights, training and meetings.  “Our team is looking forward to seeing them undergo some of their training around the hotel and to working with the charity to raise such important funds,” said Sarah Waddington, Sales Manager.

Allen Parton, his original service dog Endal and his current service dog EJ, have been the subject of documentaries, a book and Allen has even been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey about the extraordinary way that his service dogs have help him to rebuild his life. As a naval officer in the Gulf, Allen was Injured in an accident, sustaining serious head injuries.

A later accident that knocked Alan out of his wheelchair and unconscious in a car park late at night, prompted his dog Endal to pull Allen into the recovery position, find his mobile phone and go and get help.  “Even though Endal had not been trained to get me into the recovery position he instinctively did all the right things.  He was trained to problem solve and that is how we train our Hounds for Heroes dogs. They do all sorts of things to help our injured services personnel from opening doors, picking up items, getting money from  ATMs, opening train doors and they also bring the companionship and love that can be missing when someone becomes disabled,” said Allen Parton. 

Inspired by Endal and the way he had helped to transform his life, Allen wanted other injured military and emergency service personnel to also benefit from having the support of a service dog and so Hounds for Heroes was born.