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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Barrow man's guide dog is given honorary RAFA uniform

VARGO the guide dog’s mission in life is simple: he lives to help his master, Barrow man Jimmy Hutton.

Mr Hutton is a long-standing member of the Royal Air Force Association’s Barrow branch. Since Vargo was assigned to the 79-year-old around nine months ago, the trusty canine has become equally committed to the cause.

After joining Mr Hutton on marches and other duties, he’s been appointed the branch’s mascot.

To mark his special connection to the RAFA, Vargo has been awarded his very own custom-made branch jacket.

Vargo was presented with the unique garment at the Royal British Legion Club in Holker Street to recognise his contribution – and to keep him warm and dry on future marches and fundraisers.

Mr Hutton, of Rawlinson Street, Barrow and originally from Fife, says Vargo has changed his life and he is delighted that his canine companion had been honoured by the association.

The former miner and widower said: “He is marvellous, he looks after me and he’s no bother. At the traffic lights and everything, he stops dead and he won’t budge until it’s time to go. He stops at every kerb. He looks very smart.”

Des Murphy, branch chairman and a veteran of 25 years in the RAF, was among those at the presentation.

The 61-year-old, of Lyndale Avenue, Barrow, said: “I came up with an idea, along with the committee and members, and we thought it would be a nice touch.

“Jimmy has been a member for a few years and he’s always marched in the parades, including Civic Sunday, St George’s Day and the recent First World War 100 year commemoration.

“Vargo has become as much a member as Jimmy and we thought it would be nice to get him a coat so not only would he play the part, but he would look the part as well.”

Peter Hudson, RAFA branch support officer for the north, organised the embroidery and design. He said: “Vargo and his coat should be a good advertising feature for us now.”

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