Yoga twins don dino gear to raise cash for Surrey cats

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Twin sisters Leanne Sternalski-Goodman and Daniella Sternalski-Gobey will brave searing temperatures dressed as dinosaurs for a livestreamed yoga session to raise cash for cats in Surrey.

The 35-year-olds were inspired by Ralph the Rex, a Facebook page where people dress up in dinosaur costumes and do funny activities, and have previously completed a dino dance-off and dino workout.

“It’s fair to say that we have what we call a stupid sense of humour and it tickled us,’ said Leanne.

That sense of humour has already driven the fundraising co-ordinators to raise hundreds of pounds for Cats Protection’s East Surrey Branch and they have set a target of £250 for this challenge.

“We do it for the cats and to have a bit of fun at the same time,’ said Leanne. “We also thought this might bring a smile to many faces, especially during the pandemic. We all need a bit of fun and we’ll be raising money for Cats Protection while doing it. Win-win.”

Dino yoga will require a level of general fitness and, with temperatures still high, the pair from Godstone will need to be closely monitored during the session, starting at midday on Saturday, 24 July.

Leanne said: “We both have good fitness levels as we regularly go the gym, swim and attend online training sessions, but we don’t usually do yoga. We’re using this week for a final push to make sure we’re as familiar with the yoga poses as possible as we’ll need audio queues because it can be hard to see in those suits.

“For health and safety reasons we are limiting the session to 30 minutes as it gets really hot in those suits. We’ll be under the watchful eye of Rachel from Rebalance Online as she guides us through our yoga session.”

Daniella adopted her 17-year-old cat Misty Moo from Cats Protection. “She still loves to play and has become a bit of a star during lockdown,’ Daniella said. “She joins in with my work meetings and purrs so loudly that my colleagues can hear her.

“She sulks if you don’t say hello to her when you walk in and she has never once bitten, scratched or hissed at anyone. If you do something she doesn’t like, she walks away and she will bide her time to get her own way if you tell her off.”

A fondness for dressing up is not the only lockdown hobby the sisters have taken up, Leanne said: “We’ve become hooked on video game streaming. When COVID hit we had to think outside the box for things to do.

“We participated in a couple of Cats Protection’s Pawsome Players online gaming events and loved it so much we decided to keep it up. We’re actually quite good at it and playing some of the more retro games is rather nostalgic.”

With many fundraising efforts curtailed by lockdown, the sisters had to adapt to new ways of supporting the ongoing needs of cats in Surrey.

“It’s been very different from what we’re used to,’ said Leanne. “We took on the role of fundraisers six months before the pandemic hit, so we were just getting settled. The pandemic turned all of that on its head and we had to think quickly as all of our planned fundraising events couldn’t happen.

“I was on furlough, so having something to focus on during lockdown has helped me personally. I spent time volunteering in our charity shop and got to know other volunteers too.

“We don’t look on the past year as negative, quite the opposite. It has pushed us forward in our thinking and allowed us to expand how we fundraise to combine online fundraising with the more traditional events. It’s been a steep but valuable learning curve.”

The dino yoga livestream will be available to watch via the East Surrey Branch’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CREScatsprotection and the branch’s YouTube channel.

Donations are invited at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cpeastsurreydinoyoga