'Poppy', the UK War Horse Memorial unveiled in Ascot in 2018, wearing a commemorative garland for the inaugural National Purple Poppy Day appeal (Photo: Centenary News)

Purple Poppy Day launches - August 23 - in memory of First World War horses

Posted on centenarynews.com on 23 August 2018
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A new appeal for equine charities, commemorating horses, donkeys and mules lost in 1914-18, is intended to become an annual event, building support in future years as a legacy of the Centenary.

Today’s Purple Poppy Day in the UK has been chosen to coincide with the August 23 anniversary of the Battle of Mons, the first clash between the British and German armies on the Western Front in 1914.

Organised by the War Horse Memorial project, the appeal follows on from the unveiling of a national memorial to the horses of the Great War in Ascot in June 2018.

Ahead of the launch day, supporters gathered for a brief remembrance ceremony, placing a wreath of more than 200 knitted purple poppies around the neck of Poppy the War Horse at the commemorative site close to Ascot racecourse.

Councillor Paul Lion (holding wreath), Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and his wife Laura, with supporters and organisers at the War Horse Memorial (Photo: Centenary News)

Conducting the service, the Reverend Dr Darrell Hannah, Rector of All Saints Church, Ascot, said: "We cannot undo the horrors which animals, and especially horses, donkeys and mules, experienced in their service to humanity during war and especially during the First World War. But we can honour their memory, and we can do so in a way which serves and protects their kindred today."

Readings included a poem by the sculptor Susan Leyland, who created Poppy: ".....So here in silence with head bowed low, Over the bones of fallen friend, Where grass and purple poppies grow, I stand forever To honour all who came not home."

Donations to the Purple Poppy Appeal will provide a 'living legacy' after the WW1 Centenary, the War Horse Memorial team say.  Beneficiaries include the Household Cavalry Foundation and the Mane Chance Sanctuary, a charity for abused, abandoned and elderly horses.

Alan Carr MBE, co-founder of the War Horse Memorial, thanked the public for their support in this, the opening year: "We have had hundreds of calls, emails and letters from across the UK from people, businesses and organisations wanting to get involved. The response has been overwhelming and we are so grateful to local shops for leading the way, and to the Mayor for his continued support."

Visit the War Horse Memorial website for more details.

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team