Patrick the pony to help launch National War Animal Day

Patrick and Kirk Petrakis, ambassador to The War Horse Memorial.

Patrick and Kirk Petrakis, ambassador to The War Horse Memorial. - Credit: Kirk Petrakis

Cockington's Patrick the pony is off to Ascot as official mascot for the War Horse Memorial - as a guest of honour at a special occasion later this month.

Patrick, and the Petrakis family from Torquay who look after him, are heading to the famous Ascot Racecourse for the launch of the first National War Animal Day on Monday, August 23.

Both Kirk Petrakis and his wife Hannah are ambassadors for the War Horse Memorial, which supports horse sanctuaries and animal welfare organisations through the Animal Purple Poppy Fund.

Patrick will join dozens of guests and celebrities, including the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, representatives from the Household Cavalry Foundation and Britain’s Got Talent winner and Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery, who will entertain at a reception at the racecourse following a service of remembrance in the shadows of the National War Horse Memorial nearby.

Chief executive Alan Carr says the idea of National War Animal Day is to recognise all animals who have given service and sacrifice.

He said: “Poppy, our magnificent war horse, stands in Ascot as a memorial, a reminder of the horses, mules and donkeys who lost their lives in the First World War.

"However, we have decided it’s time to also remember the other animals, including dogs, cats, pigeons, canaries and camels who have been involved in conflict over countless wars.

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"The Imperial War Museum tells us 16 million animals were used for transport, communication and companionship in World War One alone.

"It's hard to imagine but ponies even as small as Patrick would have been either sent to the Front, or used down the coal mines to support the war effort.

"We think a national day where we remember them all is both fitting and overdue.”