A York couple have dedicated nearly 20 years of their life to training dogs which have become ears to the deaf.

Joyce Kingman, 64, first volunteered at Bielby-based national charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in 1996.

The volunteers care for a puppy for the first year of its life, before the dog is given advanced training.

After the first puppy, Joyce and husband Harry fostered a brood bitch called Chanel and helped to deliver her litters of puppies in their home.

They went on to look after 42 dogs.

Mrs Kingman said: “Volunteering is just so much fun.When you have a puppy, every trip out is a social occasion and everyone wants to come over and make a fuss.”

The charity is celebrating national Volunteers Week next week by thanking its 1,650 helpers.

Centre Manager Rebekkah Barr said: “We rely solely on the support of the public and could not possibly continue without our dedicated volunteers.”

To volunteer visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk.