HEROES in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease (MND) are the inspiration behind the names of West Midlands Police’s latest puppy litter.
The 11-strong litter of Springer Spaniels, who were born at the Balsall Common West Midlands Police dog training unit, have been named with MND Heroes to mark Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day (June 21).
In doing so the force surprised its former Assistant Chief Constable Chris Johnson by naming one of the two-week-old pups Cheeky – his nickname by colleagues – in his honour.
Father-of-two Chris was diagnosed with the terminal disease in 2018 and continued to work for almost two years before retiring.
He has carried on raising awareness and also fundraise towards research into the disease since.
The police said it was his initial idea to name some of our pups after MND heroes – completely unaware they were going to name one after him.
The others have been named:
PD Doddie – after former rugby union player Doddie Weir
PD Burrow – ex-Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow MBE
PD Darby – after former Liverpool, Notts County and Bradford City footballer Stephen Darby
PD Len – after ex-Burnley, Bury and Swansea City football player Lenny Johnrose
PD Rimmer – after former soldier Chris Rimmer who set up the MND Warriors support group
PD Moss – after Emma Moss who runs the Mummy with MND blog
PD Primrose – after Primrose Hospice
PD Hawkie – after Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkins whose raised awareness of MND
PD Blue – colour for MND
PD Rollo – after retired sergeant John Rollason who was nicknamed Rollo. He was diagnosed in 2018 and sadly passed away last month.
Chief Superintendent Lee Wharmby said: “We’re incredibly proud to be able to name some of our new police dogs after MND heroes.
“We felt privileged when Chris approached us with idea – and it was then we set about organising our own surprise by calling one after his nickname.
“It was a special moment when he met Cheeky for the first time and we hope all our dogs will go on to be as inspirational as their namesakes.”
Amy Kilpatrick, a regional fundraiser for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and has been working with the Johnson family and West Midlands Police.