80-Year-Old Woman Heads To The World’s Biggest Agility Festival To Compete

Diana Arthurson from Melton Constable, Norfolk will be heading to the world’s largest agility festival this August at the age of 80 to compete with her dog.

Diana, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last December and suffers from arthritis, is thought to be one of the oldest competitors at the festival and believes that without taking part in agility she would not be as active as she is today.

After training in agility for seven years with her ten-year-old Poodle/Yorkshire Terrier cross, Winston, this will be the first time the pair have competed at the Kennel Club International Agility Festival, which is being held in Rockingham, Market Harborough from 11th - 14th August.

Diana, who is a retired special needs teacher, said: “Agility makes me do things I never expected I could do. I have made a lot of new friends through it, Winston has lost 2kg and it keeps me active and fit, especially after my diagnosis.

“I know I would not be as active as I am if it wasn’t for agility. I am very pleased that at my age, with arthritic feet, I am coming to the festival to compete, and we are really looking forward to seeing all those top dogs and handlers run.”

Diana has owned dogs for the last 62 years, but only decided to take up agility because she was worried her dogs were becoming too restless and disobedient. She owns another Poodle/Chihuahua cross called Pixel, who also runs in agility, but she will not be competing at the festival this year.

Diana was diagnosed with breast cancer in December after her Doctor found a lump during a routine visit. She had surgery in January this year shortly followed by a course of radiotherapy which finished in April. Despite this Diana will still be competing at the Kennel Club International Agility Festival this month.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Diana’s story shows that agility is for any age, young and old alike. Not only is it good for your dog to keep active but also it improves the mobility of the owner.

“The Kennel Club International Agility Festival is the largest agility festival in the world. Anyone can enter their dog in the show and it’s a fantastic event for both competitors and spectators alike. We wish Diana all the best for the festival and with her treatment.”

The Kennel Club International Agility Festival will be held at Rockingham Castle in Rockingham, from Thursday 11th August until Sunday 14th August. More than 2,900 dogs of all types, sizes and experience levels will compete across 16 agility rings, with dogs jumping and weaving their way around the various courses. Read more information about the international agility festival.