By a member of Nottingham Meeting.
My involvement with the Animal Aid Purple Poppy campaign, which Quaker Concern for Animals actively supports, began two years ago at an Animal Blessing in Southwell Minster, though I had always placed a photo of the horses in World War 1 on the war memorial in my village.
Southwell Cathedral is very animal–friendly, with supportive clergy. After the Blessing I spoke to the Dean, asking if on Remembrance Sunday they would allow a purple poppy wreath for all animals killed in war to be laid. He put me in touch with the Royal British Legion (RBL), who agreed for a wreath to be laid at the war memorial in Southwell. He also suggested one might be laid at the official Nottingham City Council Civic Ceremony at the war memorial at Trent Bridge. Thousands of people attend, together with the military, Lord Mayor and Nottingham Bishops.
I was given permission to lay a wreath, which I have done for the past two years. I join the procession with the military and dignitaries, placing my purple poppies in memory of the millions of animals who suffered and died in war.
I also have permission from the RBL to lay a wreath at the service in my village.
This year, on the cover of the Nottingham City Council Order of Service, where the words “… the people who died in war” appear, “and animals” will be added. The Bishop of Nottingham will also mention the animals who suffered and died, and his address will be printed in the Order of Service.
I have always felt that this small campaign was something I was led and guided to do – and all the doors opened for me. I truly believe that this was the work of the Holy Spirit.
I would like express my special thanks to Dean John Guille, whose initial support and guidance meant so much to me, to Nottingham Council, who have shown such understanding and compassion, and to the RBL, whose members have all encouraged me. Never once did I receive any objection to my work.
I am so proud that the city where I was born and have spent my life will remember the forgotten animals who suffered and died in war.
We must never forget those who died, be they human or non-human.
~ A lovely introduction to our coverage of Remembrance 2014, as told to Marian.