Ted Lasso actress Annette Badland flew the flag for working horse and donkey charity Brooke at the Animals in War Memorial Remembrance Gathering in Hyde Park, London on November 10.
The event marked 80 years of the PDSA Dickin Medal — the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military combat. Other animal charities including Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Blue Cross and The Japan Animal Welfare Society attended the Park Lane memorial, to honour the brave animals that served and sacrificed themselves during human conflict. A retired military dog, cavalry horses and a pigeon from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association also attended. Among the guests were award-winning author and journalist Jilly Cooper, and Last Tango in Halifax star Sir Derek Jacobi.
The event was also part of Brooke’s Every Horse Remembered Week, from November 6 to 11, to honour the heroic war horses of the past, and give the millions still suffering a life worth living for generations to come.
Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died in World War I, and most who survived never returned home and were instead kept overseas for hard labour.
Badland, who plays the landlady of Ted Lasso‘s local pub, said: “I’m so proud to lend my support to such a moving event. It’s so important that we come together to reflect on the courage of millions of horses, donkeys and mules who served alongside our soldiers. Today, these animals are still a vital lifeline for many communities around the world, and deserve respect and kindness.”
This year’s Animals in War Memorial event was organised and funded by the Petplan Charitable Trust and Dogs Trust with support from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). The event has taken place annually since 2004, the 90th anniversary of World War 1, when the memorial was unveiled by Princess Anne, The Princess Royal.
Purple poppies commemorate animals lost in conflict
A charity fundraising group from Penrith is also playing its part to raise awareness of animals lost in WW1, by knitting purple poppies to raise money for Brooke.
Elaine and Tricia, who are members of the Penrith and North Lakes volunteer fundraising group, have been supporting Brooke for over 10 years, and in that time have raised more than £11,000 for working animals by hosting afternoon teas, stands at local shows, and street collections.
The pair came up with the idea of knitting purple poppies, a symbol created in 2006 to remember animals lost in conflict.
“Brooke is such a worthwhile charity as they help millions of donkeys, horses and people all over the world. They teach veterinary skills and educate people how to care for their animals, to make life better for them,” Elaine said.
Some 8 million horses, donkeys and mules died in WW1, not only from fierce shellfire and gas attacks but also from the extreme conditions they had to endure. From the freezing mud on the Western Front to the overbearing heat of Egypt, the environments they worked in took many lives. Sadly, horses, donkeys and mules still have to endure conditions like these every day through conflict, climate change and harsh working environments.
Brooke was founded in the 1930s when Dorothy Brooke discovered thousands of former British war horses suffering in Egypt. She established the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital to ensure they were treated with care, respect and compassion. The charity Brooke was established in 1934.
Each November during Every Horse Remembered Week, Brooke takes time to honour and reflect on the heroic struggle of working animals of the past and present, and help build better lives for future generations.
» Want to make your own purple poppy in honour of Every Horse Remembered? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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