A PAIR of eight-year-old dog-loving cousins are taking on a mammoth hike up Pen-y-Fan to raise money for Dogs Trust.

Belle Bracegirdle and Lucie Bettosi, who live in Newbridge, are walking up the highest mountain in South Wales accompanied by Belle’s mum, Hayley Akrill, in July.

They are taking on the challenge in memory of Ms Akrill and Belle's beloved family dog, Stella, who died in April. Stella was originally adopted from Dogs Trust Bridgend 14 years ago.

South Wales Argus: Cousins Belle and Lucie.

Belle and Lucie

So far the girls have raised more than £350 to help the charity care for dogs who have found themselves without a forever home but are hoping for an extra boost before the walk gets underway.  

Ms Akrill said that Stella was "such a special girl".

"We miss her beyond words but we are forever grateful to the Dogs Trust for looking after her until we adopted her so we really wanted to give something back to say thank you," she said.

South Wales Argus: Stella was adopted from Bridgend Dogs Trust 14 years ago.


“The girls wanted to raise money to help make sure all the dogs being looked after can have everything they need until it is time for them to go to a new home.”  

The trio will set off on Sunday, July 4, climbing 886 metres above sea level - and hope to complete the walk in 2.5 hours.

Angela Wetherall, manager at Dogs Trust Bridgend, said: "It is really heart-warming to hear what Belle, Lucie and Hayley are planning to do in memory of their family dog Stella to raise money for all the other rescue dogs waiting to find a loving family.

“Climbing Pen y Fan is quite an undertaking for most adults, let alone children, so Belle and Lucie really should be proud for setting themselves this challenge.

South Wales Argus: Stella was a beloved family pet for 14 years.


“We are committed to finding our dogs their ideal homes however long it takes and in the meantime, with the incredible help of supporters like Hayley, Belle and Lucie, we are able to give them  everything they need, from toys to treats or additional training to help prepare them  for their own adventures with their new families."

The money raised by the hiking trio will help Change the Tale for rescue dogs at Dogs Trust’s rehoming centre in Bridgend and the new rehoming centre coming to Cardiff this summer. If you would like to support their fundraising challenge, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hayley-akrill