Northamptonshire boy raises £500 for dogs who can sniff out signs of cancer

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A five-year-old boy from Northamptonshire​ has raised £500 for dogs who can sniff out signs of cancer by riding his pony 12 miles.

Alfie Murtagh, from Cogenhoe, took part in the Milton Keynes event in a bid to support the Medical Detection Dogs (MDD), a charity that trains sniffer dogs to detect cancer.

Not only was he the youngest of the 200 riders taking part - and of all participants in the event’s history - but he also raised the second largest total when he rode his pony, Coco, through the Buckinghamshire countryside during the charity’s 9th Canter for a Cure event.

Alfie’s mother, Lisa Duffy, 43, said: “He had a great time and won lots of prizes, and he wanted to do it again straight away.

“He wanted to do it last year, but I didn’t let him go because he was too young.

“He asked if he could do it this year with me and I said well, we’ll give it a go.

“Now he is planning on more events.”​

Last year’s horse ride helped to raise £14,000 for the charity’s Cancer Detection Dog Team, a team of specially-trained dogs that can provide second line screening for cancer.

The successful “Think Pink” event took place on one of the hottest days of the year, where a record number of riders and their horses trotted along the twelve mile trail in support of the charity.

The Medical Detection Dogs currently have 30 hounds that are being trained to detect cancers that are difficult to diagnose reliably, including prostate and breast cancer.

Riders at this year’s event ​got the chance to take on Canter for a Cure’s cross country jumps if they chose. A short cut w​as​ also available to those who c​ould not​ ride the full twelve miles, which reduces the course to approximately nine miles.

To sponsor Alfie, visit