Ricky Gervais, Downton Abbey Stars Take Part in Hyde Bark

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Raising spirits as he helped to raise funds for a paws cause, Ricky Gervais was among the many famous friends of Fidos and felines who helped to shine a spotlight on The Mayhew Animal Home at the charity’s annual day of play with a purpose– Hyde Bark.

During the fundraiser’s dog show, the creator of The Office— who counts two Emmys, three Golden Globes and seven BAFTA Awards among his accolades– acted as the judge for the Sweetest Staffie category. A long-time supporter of The Mayhew Animal Home, the funny man also took the time to meet a few of the dogs who help to bring smiles to the faces of those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression through The Mayhew Animal Home’s TheraPaws program.

Other judges on the day included Downton Abbey stars Jim Carter (Mr. Carson the Butler) who chose the winner of the Prettiest Lady category alongside his real life leading lady, actress Imelda Staunton (known to Harry Potter fans as Professor Dolores Umbridge); Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) co-presented an award to the winner of the Handsomest Male category with Peter Egan (Shrimpy in the Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas special,) who also shared the task of determining the winner of the Best Friends category with the founder of Pup Aid, celebrity vet Marc Abraham.

Actress Helen George, who helps to bring new life into the world as nurse Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife, helped to celebrate The Mayhew Animal Home’s efforts to offer a new lease on life to homeless animals as she announced the winners in the Rock Star and Best in Show categories. The star stated: “The Mayhew is my local rescue centre in London, which is why I am so pleased to have been invited to join them to judge at Hyde Bark. It was amazing to meet all the dogs entering the show and my own two dogs enjoyed all the fantastic canine fun and games that The Mayhew arranged for our four legged friends.”

Author/comedian Bill Oddie decided the victor in the Best Veteran category:

Stars were also spotted among the canine-loving crowd, including model/actress Caprice Bourret:

The Mayhew’s CEO, Caroline Yates, said: “The turnout to our event was simply fantastic, we couldn’t have wanted for more. The support of our celebrity judges and attendees means that we can let so many more people know about our animals in need. We are overwhelmed with homeless dogs and cats at present and so sharing awareness of our charity is absolutely vital at this time and we can’t thank them enough.”

While a total has yet to be determined from this year’s Hyde Bark benefit, in 2012 the event raised almost £20,000 for The Mayhew Animal Home, which has provided comfort and care for homeless companion animals since 1886.

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Photo credit: Bonnie Baker

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About Grace Sydney

Grace Sydney is the Assistant Editor of and, covering celebrity-related rescue news. She operates the @HollywoodDogs Twitter account sharing information on celebrity fundraising for rescues and shelters.