Man travels down the Thames with his dog to collect presents for the homeless

Phil and Lucky are taking their own boat – and home – down the Thames (Picture: StreetVet)

Earlier this week, a man headed down the Thames with his Staffordshire bull terrier, with the pair on a mission to spread festive cheer.

Phil Bradshaw and his dog, Lucky, are taking part in The Christmas Cruise for StreetVet, an animal welfare charity, with the aim to collect donations for homeless people during Christmas.

The journey started from Hemel Hempstead on 26 November and will continue until 10 December, with the final destination at the Imperial Wharf Marina in central London.

Along the way, Phil and Lucky will make 11 stops – with today’s location (29 November) announced as Springwell Lock visitor moorings, Stocker’s Lake.

People are encouraged to hand over dog toys and food vouchers, which will then be distributed by StreetVet to homeless people across the city.

Suggested voucher outlets include Caffé Nero, Greggs, Pets at Home, Starbucks or Sainsbury’s, but other options are welcome, too.

Phil and Lucky have first-hand experience of having ‘no fixed abode’.

In 2017, the pair were staying at a hostel when Phil found a lump on Lucky’s mammary gland. As he had no funds to pay for surgery for his beloved pet, he contacted StreetVet to help.

‘I was so grateful for the incredible support we received from StreetVet,’ he said.

’13-year-old Lucky has been my best friend and loyal companion since she was six weeks old, so the relief was overwhelming.’

Since then, Phil has joined the organisation as an ambassador, taking part in various events including The Long Walk in 2018, a fundraising trip around the UK where he pushed a buggy from Cornwall to Scotland, and back to the east coast of Britain.

They did 10 to 20 miles per day, and raised £5,000 for the charity.

For the cruise, Phil and Lucky are using their new home – a 40-year-old vessel named ‘Baloo’, which was given to them by an anonymous donor who met them during The Long Walk.

‘I’m brimming over with the reception we’re getting along our journey,’ he tells

It’s been hard work at times, tackling up to eight locks in a day in the driving rain, but it’s been absolutely worth it.

‘People of all ages, even little children, have been coming up and giving us dog toys, dog coats and vouchers for food and drink too, for the homeless.

‘Pubs and cafés along the way have been putting up posters encouraging people to get involved and doing whip-rounds.

‘And dog walkers are always super-keen to hear about what we’re up to!’

‘I’m so proud to be doing this with Lucky. StreetVet means so much to us. They’re all about mending broken hearts, changing lives and being real.’

If you want to donate some goodies, check the Christmas Cruise for StreetVet Facebook page beforehand, as the itinerary could be subject to changes.  

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