Just over a couple of weeks ago Yarmouth trainer Mel Shields completed a wing walk in Wickenby, Lincolnshire raising money for the Yarmouth Greyhound Homefinders. At 83 years old he certainly still enjoys an adrenaline rush but more importantly loves doing what he can for retired greyhounds. 

This wasn’t Mel’s first time doing something like this, in fact he’s done three skydives and two wing walks the first being the ‘Fall for Hounds’ skydive organised by Julie Collier in 2014 where 50 other people jumped from a plane 15,000 feet above Peterborough with him. Mel obviously gained quite a liking for it. 

When speaking about his most recent wing walk Mel said “I did enjoy it, it was quite exciting really. You could choose either the scenic route or one with a bit more adrenaline. I watched a couple before I went and when asked I said I’d like the one with extra adrenaline if I can!”

Yarmouth trainers and regulars have supported Mel sponsoring him and one in particular added another touch to his fundraising – “I am particularly friendly with Barry from the John Mullins kennel as I originally come from Ipswich and he’s pretty involved in the Ipswich Town Football Club so I said to him I wonder if you could get me a football shirt to wear. A week later, he said I have something and there was this Ipswich Town football shirt, a brand new one. I asked him how much I owed him and he said nothing as the club has donated it.” You can see Mel proudly wearing the shirt next to the plane. 

Mel used to be a stable lad in Newmarket in 1954 before he found his love of greyhounds so also wanted to raise some money for the Injured Jockeys Fund as well as for the retired greyhounds but the latter has been his main aim in his most recent wing walk. Mel said “I always involve Yarmouth Homefinders when I do these things to try and raise them a few quid, it may not be thousands but if the money can fill a gap somewhere then it’s worth doing”

The total that Mel has raised for them isn’t yet known as there are still some sponsorships coming in but however much it is it will help and be appreciated by the rehoming charity and the dogs. 

Back to earth for Mel

Mel has been training for just over 20 years after starting in the sport as an owner and then going into breeding. The most dogs he’s had at one time is around 5 greyhounds but his love for the breed shines through – “I have to race at Yarmouth as I can’t travel far. I was going to pack in but decided to just have a couple of racers and they get me up in the mornings. I’m grateful to the track as they put me on in the earlier races which also helps me out a lot.”

As much as he loves watching his dogs run, retired dogs are clearly important to him. One of the most exciting dogs he had, a pup who won an A1 in his first ever race unfortunately broke his hock in his second race, Mel said “I got him fixed up and he’s now retired and living at home with me.” 

At 83 years of age and still standing on top of planes as they fly in the air, Mel has to be applauded for his efforts for the retired greyhounds. 


It’s a known fact that the sport need more promotion for multiple reasons – getting more people to the tracks and educating people on how cared for the greyhounds are to name a couple of those. One trainer who has taken a different but modern approach to this is Adam Sears with his ‘vlogs’ on YouTube and it seems like a great, innovative idea. 

Adam has been involved in greyhound racing since he was in school working weekends and school holidays for a trainer that lived local to him and who trained at Hall Green. His local track was Coventry where he spent many evenings and his interest in the sport grew although he did say “I have never really been interested in gambling, it has always been the athleticism of the dogs.”

He drifted away from the sport for a few years but when Coventry reopened he bought a dog and became a kennelhand for Jane White where he worked part time for many years. However eight years ago Adam decided to take out his own licence starting at Perry Barr before moving to Towcester. He also runs his own window business and admits it not always easy juggling both but his love of training is clear saying “I enjoy all aspects of training and the thrill of winning, whether that be a graded race or an open, is something special.”

When noticing on social media that people had started doing Twitter spaces and different podcasts as well as other things, Adam decided he wanted to do something different but with the same aim of promoting the sport and training greyhounds being as transparent as possible which is when he came up with the idea of doing a weekly vlog on YouTube. 

“I was very nervous when I pressed the button to release my first vlog as I was unsure what the reaction might be but it has been better than I ever expected, there has been lots of views, positive comments and subscriptions…here I am now making episode 11!” The majority of Adam’s vlogs have over 1k views with one reaching 4k with lots of comments from people who now understand more about the training that the greyhounds receive and like following his dogs in their races. 

“It wasn’t easy at first making the vlogs and there were plenty of second takes but the more I have done it the easier they have become. I tend to start filming at random times and edit them at the end of the week trying to keep them as interesting as I can.”

More promotion within the sport really is key going forward, Adam said “We all have a role to play in the promotion of our sport and there are many ways in which we can do this. Social media is a great platform with many options enabling us to push this great sport forward.” 



A family doing all they can to raise money for retired greyhounds is Hove trainer Patrick Browne, wife Jade and their two daughters Ciara and Shauna. On the 10th September Ciara and Shauna are planning to climb Mount Snowdon to raise money for Portsmouth Greyhound Trust and Homes 4 Hounds.

Ciara Browne

A few years ago Ciara completed a 10k walk over the Dorset Hills raising £1,200 for the Greyhound Trust after learning about fundraising in school. After recently talking about how successful the walk was, she decided that she wanted to do something else to raise money, something more challenging and this time with her sister too. 

Jade said “We have chosen Portsmouth Greyhound Trust and Homes 4 Hounds as we work closely with them in the rehoming of our greyhounds. They both do amazing work and we can’t thank them enough for their support and assistance. Hopefully we can raise as much as possible for them!” Their original goal was to match or beat the total from their previous fundraiser and it is looking likely that they will be able to beat that. 

Ciara and Shauna have received a large amount of support from all around the greyhound community, Jade said “Sometimes throughout all the negativity in the sport it is times like this when you remember what a wonderful community greyhound racing is.” 

It’s no wonder that Patrick and Jade’s girls are so keen to raise money for the dogs as it is clear to see their love for the breed, racing and retired, and Jade does a great job on social media showing how great the dogs are with children too. “We never forced the girls into going to the kennels and racing, it’s a passion for the dogs that’s kept their spark ignited. The girls love to get stuck in at the kennels, Ciara in particular enjoys galloping and is a natural when it comes to handling a highly excited greyhound. Shauna, at 8 years old, has really got an eye for when something is not quite right with a dog like when they are lame or feeling off colour.”

“They are also learning more about how races are run, Ciara watched a pup trial the other day and said ‘Good first look, left a bit on the track but will come on for the trial’, it’s just absolutely lovely to be able to share our passion with our children.”

Does Jade see the girls having a future in the sport? “Well Ciara has already expressed that when her Dad gets old and retires, and she’s stressed that isn’t too far away, she’s taking over the kennels!” But for now, they are both doing great work showing how wonderful the breed really is and raising money for retired greyhounds and the money raised by climbing Snowden will certainly be appreciated by the charities.

To support this worthy cause

Shauna Browne