11:10AM, Tuesday 12 June 2018
Crowds gasped in admiration as The War Horse Memorial finally got unveiled in Ascot.
The towering statue on Heatherwood Roundabout is the country’s first monument dedicated to the millions of UK, Allied and Commonwealth horses, mules and donkeys that served during the First World War.
It has been named Poppy by the guides, brownies and rainbows of the UK following a competition.
A ceremony took place on Friday to mark the project’s completion.
Susan Osborne, co-director of the War Horse Memorial, said: “It was a very special moment and when Poppy’s blanket was removed there was a gasp of admiration for the work that had been done.
“The most important thing for me is that hopefully this will prove to be a catalyst for improving fundraising to support our equine and military charities.”
The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Mr James Puxley, laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen at the base of the memorial, which was designed by sculptor Susan Leyland.
A time capsule has also been buried beneath it containing artefacts donated by families of soldiers who served in The Great War.
Public donations, money from the Royal Borough’s public arts budget and funding from Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley helped pay for the statue.
Cllr Samantha Rayner, cabinet member for culture and communities, added: “It is an honour for the borough to have the nation’s first memorial solely dedicated to the sacrifices of horses, mules and donkeys during the First World War.
“Horses and the military both still play huge roles in our borough today and it’s vital we never forget the sacrifices made by those before us, especially the often unmentioned role played by animals.”
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