A CHARITY founder has been praised by the prime minister for his selfless work helping link disabled veterans with assistance dogs.
Gulf war veteran Allen Parton, from Clanfield, has been given the Points of Light award for his work founding Hounds for Heroes, which provides assistance dogs for disabled veterans and emergency services personnel.
He established the charity in memory of his service dog, Endal, who helped him recover physically and emotionally after a traumatic injury in the Gulf War.
Allen suffered severe memory loss and was unable to walk, speak or write, spending five years in hospital.
Through Endal, he was able to rebuild confidence and relationships with his family, with Endal capable of responding to more than 100 commands to provide Allen with support, including reacting to an emergency in 2001 when Allen was knocked out of his wheelchair by a speeding car and left unconscious.
The charity runs an intensive two-year training course for puppies, and since 2011 has achieved 15 successful placements.
Allen received his award, recognising outstanding volunteers, at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday from his MP, Sir George Hollingbery, alongside assistance dogs EJ (Endal Junior) and Rookie.
READ MORE: Endal Junior stars in TV documentary
Allen said: ‘I am so incredibly humbled and honoured to have been nominated for a Points of Light award. I am though constantly reminded to look over my shoulder at those who have supported me over the years and made my dreams and visions the reality they are today.
‘The message that comes out of awards such as this is “that folk really do care” and from where I sit that is such a powerful message to receive, I salute you all!’
In a letter to Allen, prime minister Boris Johnson said: ‘I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are paying tribute to the memory of Endal by training assistance dogs for other veterans, helping them to rebuild their lives as you bravely did.’
Sir George Hollingbery, MP for Meon Valley, said: ‘I am very pleased Allen’s tremendous work with Hounds for Heroes has been recognised by this much-deserved award.’