Touching tributes to animal heroes at Coventry purple poppy service
PETS and their owners gathered in the War Memorial Park peace garden on Remembrance Sunday to honour the animals that served during all conflicts.
Pet owners and animal rights and welfare groups gathered in the peace garden for the short service, which was led by Coun John McNicholas alongside his wife June.
During his address, Coun McNicholas spoke about the need to honour the ‘faithful animals who served side-by-side with the Armed Forces’, something he feels isn’t done enough.
He also stressed the positive impact animals can have on people’s mental health.
“I have always been a huge advocate of animal rights, and whether it be dogs, horses or other kinds I think they should be remembered for their service, animals are loyal, loving and brave.”
Coventry Central Hall Rev Stephen Willey then gave a brief speech before leading the service in prayer.
He spoke of humans and animals being a part of the ‘marvellous creation of god’ and of the value of the ‘unconditional love’ animals give to owners.
Dr June McNicholas read a poem looking at war from a serving dog’s perspective, accompanied by her new pet dog Stella.
And the service ended with the laying of a purple poppy wreath alongside a plaque in memory of all animals who gave their lives in wars since 1914.
The purple poppy was introduced in 2006 by the charity Animal Aid, which felt animals who died in wars, mostly horses and dogs, should not be forgotten.
The appeal has since been adopted by the Murphy’s Army charity, which has since raised thousands of pounds for causes including K9 Heroes, The Horse Trust and Fireside K9.
Coun McNicholas laid the city’s first purple poppies as Lord Mayor last year and said he will be making this an annual service.
He said: “My wife and I have always been keen to promote the beneficial roles animals can play whether as therapy, assistance animals or those that support our armed services.
“Few Remembrance services recognise the bravery of those animals who endanger or sacrifice their own lives to protect their human colleagues.
“I’m looking forward to next year when we will continue our support for the ceremony”.
Associated animals in war links:
Coventry (England) has a very proud tradition of animal rights – and it was during live export protests that our wonderful Jill was murdered by the savage calf export trade: