Hundreds of visitors are expected to attend the opening of Derby’s newly refurbished RSPCA Abbey Street Animal Rehoming Centre over the bank holiday weekend – including the stars of a hit television show.

The centre, which has undergone an exciting refurbishment of their kennel facilities, will be officially opened by Baasit and Umar Siddiqui from the popular Channel Four TV show Gogglebox.

The Derby pair, who are big supporters of the local animal welfare charity, will attend the in Abbey Street venue at 11am on Saturday to unveil the completed work and meet fans.

Baasit Siddiqui, who lives in Derby, said: “We are a family of animal lovers so we are always keen to support this RSPCA branch which is self-funded and relies completely on public donations to keep going.

“It will be great to meet residents at the centre and the dedicated staff who are so passionate about what they do to help defenceless animals. We hope plenty of visitors take the opportunity to come along and visit as well.”

Their visit will form part of a free family-fun event taking place from 10am until 3pm on Saturday and Sunday (August 25 and 26) which will allow the public to tour the premises, meet staff, animal residents and look around the newly refurbished kennels. There will also be food, a raffle and various stalls.

Some of the funding for the £120,000  improvement works, came from the Lewis Prime Trust Fund and Jean Sainsbury Trust Fund. The centre also used funds donated by the public which are also vital in meeting the weekly running costs of £9,500.

The cash has enabled the centre to refurbish one of its kennel blocks which has improved the overall welfare standards for the dogs in the centre’s care – resulting in them being happier and more settled and therefore able to be rehomed quicker.

The kennel space has also increased which will now allow the centre to take in larger breed dogs for rehabilitation and rehoming.

A former resident will also be in attendance at the grand opening. Ralph, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross-breed, was taken in at Derby as part of a cruelty investigation and after months of work by staff he was eventually ready to be re-homed.

The loveable dog, who is aged three next month, will be guest of honour at the event with his new owner Karen Vernon, who lives in Allestree.

Karen said: “Ralph is a fantastic dog who had a really bad start in life. He was brought into the centre as a puppy with multiple fractures but was nursed back to health by the amazing and caring staff based at Abbey Street.

“They rehabilitated him and helped him become the affectionate and lovely boy we have today. He is a treasured family member and we are so grateful that we found him.”

Georgina Wild, supporter and volunteer engagement at the centre, said: “We are so proud of how the centre looks we just want as many people to come and visit and see for themselves.

“There will be plenty of fun for the whole family with various stalls and food available and people are invited to see just what we do – and of course meet some of our lovely residents.”

The centre rehomed more than 1,100 animals in 2017. To find out more about the Abbey Street Rehoming Centre click  here.