Champion Armagh fundraiser has spoken of his delighted after Guide Dogs for the Blind chose to name a puppy after his own wee dog Maisie, star of his festive fundraising books which have raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Willie has amassed huge sums of money over many, many years for countless good causes.
Over the past few years he has penned a series of Christmas books, which has featured his beloved Maisie as eponymous hero.
Now, the Guide Dogs for the Blind, one of Willie’s supported charities, has made a very special long-term thank-you to the Armagh man and dog.
It has done so by naming a new puppy after Maisie to thank them for their help and support.
Willie is, understandably, thrilled by the gesture, which he admits came as a “big surprise”.
He said: “I am so proud of my wee dog Maisie. She will be 13 this year and this honour could not have come at a better time.
“It really has made my day to know in the future that Maisie’s namesake will be helping someone with sight loss to live the life they choose.
“The new puppy is settling in well with her puppy raiser and she has a big future ahead of her filled with fun, excitement and new adventures.”
Gary Wilson, Guide Dogs Community Fundraising Relationship Manager, said they wanted to do something special to show their appreciation to Willie, who has been given a framed picture of the newly-named puppy.
Said Gary: “We are delighted to be the beneficiaries of Willie’s amazing fundraisers and we’re sure Puppy Maisie will go on to change someone’s life.
“It takes £54,800 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement, so any money raised is extremely valuable to people living with vision impairment right across Northern Ireland, who we help every day.”