Royston mum highlights Purple Poppy Appeal for animal victims of war

PUBLISHED: 06:58 13 November 2019

Fundraising dogs Rio and Toby at the Remembrance Sunday Parade. Picture: David Hatton

Fundraising dogs Rio and Toby at the Remembrance Sunday Parade. Picture: David Hatton

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A Royston mum-of-two has praised the community for their "amazing response" to her Purple Poppy Appeal, honouring service animals who have died or been injured in the line of duty.

Fundraising dogs and their owner Rachel Joseph (left) and Paula Davies, wearing purple poppies, which honour military animals who have died or were injured in the line of duty and raise money for charity. Picture: David HattonFundraising dogs and their owner Rachel Joseph (left) and Paula Davies, wearing purple poppies, which honour military animals who have died or were injured in the line of duty and raise money for charity. Picture: David Hatton

When Rachel Joseph saw a post about purple poppies on Facebook, she jumped at the chance to help the cause.

Rachel, a self-employed gardener and domestic cleaner, told the Crow: "I'm passionate about animals and my background is in marketing and PR so I wanted to do everything I could do help.

"I have two rescue dogs, Rio - who's seven - and Toby, aged eight, who were street dogs in Cyprus. I got them from charity Saving Pound Dogs Cyprus. I also fundraise for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal, but felt that people didn't know much about the Purple Poppy Appeal.

"When I got my dogs, they had never had comforts. They had not been inside and never had a collar, but now they are perfect pets."

Fundraising dogs and their owner Rachel Joseph (left) and Paula Davies, wearing purple poppies, which honour military animals who have died or were injured in the line of duty and raise money for charity. Picture: David HattonFundraising dogs and their owner Rachel Joseph (left) and Paula Davies, wearing purple poppies, which honour military animals who have died or were injured in the line of duty and raise money for charity. Picture: David Hatton

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Rachel has been out with her dogs - all wearing their purple poppies with pride - to raise awareness and funds of the appeal, which is by the Blue Cross and War Horse Memorial to help raise funds for animals in need.

Blue Cross played a pivotal role during the First World War in helping horses and other animals that were sent to fight. Then known as Our Dumb Friends League, the charity set up The Blue Cross Fund to help during the Balkan war in 1912, and relaunched the fund to help animals in the First World War. This lead to the charity's name change to Blue Cross later on.

Rachel said: "I don't know how much we've raised yet, but the response from the community has been amazing - there were a couple of people who thought it may water down the red poppy appeal cause, but 98 per cent of the feedback has been positive and people have been amazing.

"I posted about it on the Royston Reporting Page on Facebook, and I had so many responses from people wanting to get their purple poppies."

Businesses that have got involved with the cause include Johnson Matthey and Banyers House in Royston.

Kellie Brooks, manager at Blue Cross Hertfordshire, said "We are delighted to partner with War Horse Memorial and raise funds from the purple poppy to help the dogs, cats, horses and small animals that come to us daily in need of care. All money raised will truly help pets of today and will help us build a future for them."

If you'd like a purple poppy, they can still be purchased from Gate 6A at Johnson Matthey. You can also find out more about Blue Cross in the War at www.bluecross.org.uk/warhorse.

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