04:15PM, Friday 03 August 2018
A million purple poppy petals fell from the sky to launch an appeal in honour of horses, mules and donkeys that served in the First World War.
The Purple Poppy Appeal is the first of its kind in the UK to remember the sacrifices of equine animals for the UK, Allied and Commonwealth forces.
A display took place at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club on Saturday featuring horses and riders dressed in the uniforms of the Great War.
International soprano singer Christina Johnston sang a rendition of A Million Tears, while a Russian-built Yak-52 plane dropped the petals from the sky.
The appeal has been organised by the team behind the installation of the War Horse Memorial in Ascot.
Alan Carr MBE, co-founder of the project, said: “For us to be given this opportunity to launch our appeal in such a dramatic way will increase the profile of equine and military charities.”
Money raised at the event will help support the Household Cavalry Foundation which cares for soldiers, casualties, veterans and horses from the Household Cavalry.
A National Purple Poppy Day is also planned for August 23 with people across the UK being urged to wear the emblem to raise money for military and equine charities.
Jamie Morrison, chairman of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, added: “My life has been horses ever since I was a little boy, so it’s tough to hear of the hardships they had to endure and the sacrifice they made to help secure the freedoms we all enjoy today.
“It was a solemn but fitting tribute to the partnership between people and horses, which has endured over many
hundreds of years and continues to play such an important role today.”
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