Lest we forget

All over the UK and abroad people (and their pets and animals) have been wearing their purple poppies with pride in support of National Animal Day. Over the coming days we will share the pictures that you have sent us. And we start with three iconic images – the first of Poppy, our wonderful War Horse, wearing her magnificent cloak of thousands of knitted poppies. Poppy as you know, was built to symbolise the service and sacrifice millions of horses, mules and donkeys in World War 1. But, since she was unveiled on June 8, 2018, you have asked that she represent the role that ALL animals have played in war to secure the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. That’s why we are including dogs and cats in our narrative, and reaching out to animal sanctuaries, rescue centres and charities across the UK to form working partnerships to support their vital work.

He is an extremely busy person… but when we asked the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Councillor Frank Ross would be place a knitted poppy on the most famous statue in the city he was delighted to help. Greyfriars Bobby sits at the corner of Edinburgh’s Candlemaker Row and George IV Bridge, and epitomises the kindness and devotion animals can show to us humans.

Councillor Ross explains: “Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray until he died himself on 14 January 1872. His story has resonated with people over the generations, and he stands as a symbol of kindness and loyalty. National Animal Day has been created to highlight the importance of animals, and is timely given the “significant” financial implications that animal welfare charities are facing in the Covid-19 crisis due to falling donations, the closure of charity shops and visitor centres to protect staff and volunteers, and the cancellation of events. Our own Riding of the Marches, here in Edinburgh, which takes place every year in September and attracts over 20,000 visitors to the City, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. However, donations raised from the sale of purple poppy badges this year in Edinburgh will be used to make sure of the success of our event next year.

The rags to riches story of Dick Whittington and his cat is not just a fairy tale; it is part of the folklore of London. Today there is a stone monument to Whittington and his cat at the foot of Highgate Hill, where Dick sat down and heard the famous Bow Bells of East London ring out: Turn Again Whittington! Thrice Lord Mayor of London! His luck turned when he made a fortune in gold by selling his cat to a far off rat-infested country. As you can see the famous cat now wears one of our knitted poppies thanks to our lovely supporters Sam and Natalie, who live in the capital.

In Ascot, three of our most valued Ambassadors joined Poppy our War Horse and Alan, our co-Founder to pay their own respects on National Animal Day. Michael Thompson, Kirsty Phillips and Paul Robinson with Biff the dog and Alan our co-Founder are pictured at the monument.

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