A businessman who lost half of his clients at the start of the year has now been named the best dog walker in the country.

Fetch, based in Horsham St Faith, took first place in the dog walking category at the national Dog Friendly Awards.

Business owner, Damion Vincent, set up Fetch four years ago when he moved to the village near Norwich with hopes of combining his love of the outdoors with his love for dogs.

Since then, Mr Vincent said the business had been going from strength to strength until the coronavirus pandemic hit, along with various lockdowns.

The 41-year-old said: “The last year has been so difficult due to the lockdowns.

“During the pandemic we lost about 50pc of our regular bookings. It was a big hit.

“But since restrictions lifted, our phones and emails haven't stopped.

“People who bought dogs in lockdown had to go back to work. I think they realised it actually takes quite a lot of time and patience to train them.

"Now we have recovered and got back to where we were pre-pandemic. It has been a challenging year but really rewarding.”

When coronavirus restrictions lifted, Mr Vincent – who also employs four other dog walkers – started dog socialisation sessions which were a big hit and are due to start again in spring 2022.

Fetch also offers group dog walks, one-to-one dog walks and dog training sessions as well as short online dog training courses, dog massage and a free pet bereavement service.

In the future, Mr Vincent hopes to purchase his own dog-friendly field where he can host more events.

“I just felt so elated when Fetch was announced as best dog walking business," he said.

“We also won it last year, but when you win it again it cements it a little more. It felt amazing.

“I love my job, but it's more of a lifestyle. I love each of our dogs' little quirks and individual characters. It is great when you pull up outside of their home, they see your vehicle and go crazy.

“It is a good end to an uncertain year and it is nice that Fetch was able to survive and keep growing.”