A Sheffield man, whose willingness to dress up in a dog suit has helped raise thousands of pounds, has been named volunteer of the year by Support Dogs.

Connor Young, from Crookes, has volunteered for the Brightside-based charity for nearly four years, and during that time has uncomplainingly worn its dog suit on countless occasions, helping to raise vital funds.

Connor, who works as an events coordinator at Sheffield University students’ union, said: “I used to volunteer at a rescue centre when I was younger, and my family got our first dog from a rescue centre.

“The more I found out about Support Dogs and what the dogs do – and the fact that many of them are ex-rescue dogs who are given a second chance to become hero dogs - I wanted to get involved.

“Anyone who knows me knows how much I love dogs, and ever since moving to Sheffield I’ve always been a huge supporter of local charities here, so volunteering with Support Dogs seemed like a no-brainer!”

Volunteer coordinator at Support Dogs, Sarah Cooper said: “In his first email to me Connor said: ‘if you need an overly enthusiastic person to fill the boots of one of your mascots and raise some more money at future bucket collections / events, I’d happily take this up,’ and I was sold! Since then, he’s been amazing.”

 Over the past four years Connor has helped out at the Dogs Unleashed show,

 Bark in the Park, Crufts’ Dog Show, Ashover, Rotherham Mirfield, Thorpe Hesley and Auckley Shows, Beighton Gala, bucket collections at Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley FC and many more.

 “If he isn’t working and is free to attend, he will help with events, and nine times out of ten he will be in the dog suit – even in heat waves!” added Sarah. “Connor really gets stuck in – he’s usually the first to arrive at events, and the last to leave.”

Chief executive of Support Dogs, Rita Howson, said: “Volunteers are the life blood of our charity, and without them we couldn’t do what we do in training our amazing dogs to transform lives. Connor is a deserved winner of our volunteer of the year award.”

 Support Dogs is a Sheffield-based national charity that trains assistance dogs for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy and a range of medical conditions, enabling them to lead safer, more independent lives.