A SOMERSET dog walker and his four-legged friend have won an online national competition which encouraged dog owners to keep fit and active during lockdown.

Thomas Taylor, 9, of Bridgwater and his two year-old Scottish Terrier, Flora, took part in the Young Kennel Club's Dog Walk Challenge and travelled a total of five miles together in four weeks.

The duo took part in the challenge from January 18 and February 12 and were named as the winners of the 6-13 age group.

Thomas said: “I was very shocked to be told I had won! I really enjoyed the challenge and was very excited to do it as I love walking my dogs and spending time with them.”

The competition was open to two age groups: children aged between 6 and 13 who were asked to walk five miles and the older age group of 14-24 years old who were asked to walk ten.

The winners of both categories were awarded a choice of either a free place at Young Kennel Club camp or a Fitbit and £100 Argos voucher.

Ben Ashcroft, Young Kennel Club Chairman, said: “Many congratulations to Thomas and Flora. It’s been great to see their progress over the past four weeks and they should be so proud of themselves.

“We were thrilled to see so many Young Kennel Club members not only taking part in this challenge, but also supporting and encouraging each other. The pandemic has meant that our members have sadly been unable to socialise with each other at their usual members’ events, but we are so glad that this initiative has been able to keep them connected, even whilst being miles apart.”

The Young Kennel Club has continued to run activities throughout lockdown to keep young members and their canine companions busy in the absence of events, including photo competitions, drawing tutorials as well as printable quizzes, colouring pages and more.

Parents and/or young dog lovers who are interested in joining the Young Kennel Club can visit www.ykc.org.uk.