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Charlotte Fowler [1999] – Maggie comes home after nine day search

A rescued dog which went missing for nine days has been  reunited with her very relieved owner who camped out at night and managed to coax her back with gravy bones. Three days after being rehomed in Harpenden from the Dogs Trust Maggie, a black and tan crossbreed, was taken by her new owner, Charlotte Fowler, to see her mum in Blackmore End. But she suddenly escaped through a fence.

An appeal to locate the missing pooch was launched via  social media, Dogs Trust Harefield and the Herts Advertiser. Charlotte said: “To begin with we searched all over Blackmore End and surrounding areas including the golf course and all the woods. “My partner and I even searched the woods at 2am one morning as we thought we’d seen her, but later found out it was a fox – Maggie looks like one and even has a white tip on her tail!” Friends and family joined the hunt as reports came in of Maggie being spotted in nearby Kimpton.

Charlotte said: “Unfortunately due to her background and being nervous of people she kept bolting whenever anyone tried to call her over.“We tried all sorts of things, from leaving clothes, blankets, food and toys scattered up the road, to sitting in the fields and woods with disposable BBQs cooking bacon and sausages to entice her.” While bowls of dried dog food and water left halfway up her mum’s driveway were being emptied during the night, she was unsure whether her missing pet or a passing fox was responsible. Charlotte explained: “We couldn’t work out if the paw prints were hers.”

One night her partner slept out in his car in front of the driveway and saw Maggie approaching the food at about 3am, “but a cat startled her just when she went to settle down, and off she went”.So Charlotte tried a different tack.She explained: “I decided to camp out on the inside of the fence, right by a hole, and made sure I was well hidden. I had a board ready to block it and blocked off the garden so she had no where to run. “We set up all the food including a special dispenser stuffed with meat. I put all her blankets and bed out, and stuffed the corners with gravy bones.” Hiding nearby, Charlotte heard something walking on the gravel later that night.

She said: “I could hardly breathe through fear of scaring her off. Suddenly I saw her head come through the hole, then she squeezed the rest of her body through and started tucking into the food. “I pushed the board across, then called her. She came running over for a cuddle. “We were so pleased and relieved to finally find her. My worse fear was that she’d been hit by a car or eaten poison. “We can now look forward to giving Maggie the new life she deserves.”

Charlotte thanked everyone who helped search for Maggie, who has since been checked over by a vet and apart from losing a couple of kilos, is in good condition.

Article by Debbie White, Herts Advertiser [Harpenden Edition] 30th April 2015

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Pennine Way pioneer helps mark golden anniversary

A keen walker featured on national television last weekend as celebrations for the 50th birthday of the Pennine Way got underway.

Terry Holden [ class of 1965], a former head boy at Roundwood Park School in Harpenden, appeared on BBC1’s Countryfile on Sunday, as he was one of the youngest ramblers to complete the trail when it first opened in 1965.

Terry, who lives in Wheathampstead, said: “I first became aware of the opening of the Pennine Way whilst walking in Derbyshire on a school trip with friend Garry Cade, during the Easter holidays in 1965, and it was then that I suggested we took up the challenge.

“Upon returning to school we soon recruited Richard Elliot and John Anstee, who were also enthusiastic, so we then immediately set about researching and  planning our adventure.”

As the group set off on their last day of their then GCE exams on June 30 and had to be home by Saturday July 17, they were tasked with walking an average of 20 miles a day, for 10 hours and for 13 days. Terry said: “We were all pretty fit and active youngsters and took the challenge in our stride. “We found the most testing parts of the trek, on our navigational skills, were tobe at both at the beginning and end of the walk.

“The whole adventure was no doubt character building and developed our confidence and many skills including teamwork and determination which helped later in life. “ Some of Terry’s fond memories of the trip documented in the boys’ itinerary, include him jumping over a wall after a seeing a cow, which his friends thought he mistook for a bull, Manchester receiving a month’s worth of rain in two days and his friend John burning his Vesta curry which he had carefully prepared for his 16th birthday.

Terry also took part in a walk at Malham Tarn in Yorkshire, set up by the National Trails for a special Walk.

By Naomi Agius Herts Advertiser [Harpenden Edition] 30th April 2015