Lifesaving bid for caring Leeds pair

Piers and Vicky O'Neill are on a mission to educate people about the dangers of rabies.
Piers and Vicky O'Neill are on a mission to educate people about the dangers of rabies.
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A Leeds couple have embarked upon a mission to eradicate rabies across the world and to help educate school children about its dangers.

Veterinary nurse Vicky O’Neill 32, and her husband Piers, 32, broke world records and helped to save lives after travelling to Malawi to vaccinate dogs against the disease.

The project was arranged by the World Veterinary Service which supports animal welfare charities all over the world.

The scheme also recruits teams of volunteers and works with communities across the globe to vaccinate animals and provide them with medical treatment.

While Vicky worked directly with the animals, Piers was involved in teaching children about the dangers of rabies.

He gave a series of presentations, storytelling sessions and conducted interactive workshops with youngsters.

Whilst teaching in Africa, Piers, along with other volunteers, entered the Guinness Book of World Records after teaching 1,800 students in a single class, breaking a previous record of 250.

The project lasted two weeks and was one of the biggest projects of its kind conducted so far.

Speaking about the mission, Vicky, who lives in Boston Spa, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The project makes you feel that you are making a difference and it is a real eye-opener.

“Children are at the highest risk in Africa because they are the ones that will be handling the dogs and puppies.

“So they are more at risk of getting bitten.

“We were teaching them about how they can reduce the risks of even getting bitten in the first place.

“Hopefully if I get a chance to, I’d love to get involved with it again.”

The World Health Organisation states that in order to eradicate rabies within a country, at least 70 per cent of affected animals need to be vaccinated.