PICTURES: Portsmouth pub holds fundraiser to get autistic boy therapy dog

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GENEROUS fundraisers have donated thousands of pounds to help give a five-year-old boy a therapy dog

Little Harry Clift, whose dad died a couple of years ago, has autism and is suffering with attachment problems.

Children at the fundraiser enjoying the bouncy castle
Picture: Keith Woodland

Children at the fundraiser enjoying the bouncy castle Picture: Keith Woodland

So his mum Lauren Clift is hoping a therapy dog will transform his fortunes with a friend for life.

And she hopes the latest fundraiser held at The Compass Rose pub on Saturday will see their £6,500 fundraising goal finally reached.

Lauren has been raising money after learning about the therapy dogs and how they can help children with a range of conditions, including autism.

But they cost £6,500 so family and friends have rallied to raise the funds.

The dog will give him a companion and a friend for life.

Lauren Clift

The pub, in Anchorage Park, Portsmouth, was keen to get involved and organised a family fun day yesterday.

Lauren said: ‘Harry has autism and when his dad Chris Crocker passed away a couple of years ago it had a big impact on his life.

‘He has attachment issues and his autism can cause him to stop breathing during the night. He also has little safety awareness and can run into roads.’

Lauren, from Copnor, hopes the therapy dog will help improve Harry’s life.

Lauren and Harry Clift

Lauren and Harry Clift

‘Because of his breathing issues, Harry has to sleep in my bedroom but the dog will know if he stops breathing and will come and get me so it means Harry can have his own room and some independence,’ she said.

‘The dogs also know to stop at the kerb at roads before crossing them so I am hoping that learned behaviour will get Harry stopping too. At the moment, he tries to run into the roads.

‘Also, they are meant to be really calming. More importantly, the dog will give him a companion and friend for life.’

Lauren has raised £3,300 but hopes yesterday will have raised the rest.

She added: ‘I am really grateful to the pub for organising this. Everyone has been really supportive in giving money.’

There were 10 live music acts, stalls, a barbecue, tombola and games for kids.

Dan and Josie Bedford took along their two children Roxy and Jack. They saw posters for the fundraiser in Hilsea.

Dan, 31 from Hilsea, said: ‘We saw the event advertised and thought it was a nice thing to support. The music was really good and created a nice atmosphere for a Sunday afternoon.’