Dayna Landsborough, from Plymstock, in Devon, has won The Cinnamon Trust’s Young Volunteer of the Year Award for 2018.
Dayna, aged 21, was given the award – supported by Fish4Dogs and in association with the Young Kennel Club – on the penultimate day of Crufts (Saturday 10 March) at the NEC, Birmingham.
The Plymouth University sociology undergraduate has been walking 12-year-old, black Labrador, Jet, for four years now having volunteered her services to the Cinnamon Trust at the age of 17.
Her love of dogs prompted her to apply but over the years she struck-up a deep and meaningful relationship with Jet’s owner Meg Gray and late husband Charlie.
For the first two years, she walked Jet three-times a week and not even the pressures of starting university, and studying for exams could deter her commitment. Dayna and Meg, who is now 87 and battling cancer, have become such good friends that Meg considers her “family”.
Dayna helped Meg when she lost Charlie in 2016, visiting her regularly and taking her small gifts to cheer her up.
Meg was unable to attend Dayna’s presentation but said: “Dayna spreads sunshine wherever she goes. She is a real treasure to me and Jet and we are so lucky to have her in our lives.
“I have cancer now but I have had a good innings and do not intend to have chemo, I have had curly hair all my life and I do not intend to lose it! Knowing that Dayna is there for Jet means a great deal to me.”
Dayna was presented with ceremonial plate, silver brooch pin and a goody bag, plus a hamper of pet food and treats provided by Fish4Dogs.
Cinnamon Trust founder, Averil Jarvis MBE, said that all the shortlisted candidates demonstrated a heart-warming commitment to looking after the companion animals of those in need but that the bond between Dayna and Meg shone through.
“Despite the age difference, they are genuine friends and say such lovely things about each other. It is clear to see that there is a very real affection that has grown through Dayna’s desire to give something back and help in Jet’s care.”
Following the presentation, Dayna paid tribute to her friend Meg: “I never imagined that, when I started walking a dog in the community, I would not only gain a furry companion but a genuine friend in Meg. She is a woman who has done it all, and that is no exaggeration. A former WREN and mother – a strong woman who is a force to be reckoned with.