Last November, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre, on Ford and Etal Estates, launched its Purple Poppy Appeal.
The aim was to raise funds to fill the life-size outline of a horse, depicted on one of the walls inside the centre, with poppies purchased by members of the public.
The Purple Poppy Appeal honours the service of animals in war and provides a lasting legacy for animals in need.
Vivienne Cockburn, founder of the family-run business, said: “We felt this was a particularly fitting charity for our centre which is all about preserving rare breeds, in particular the Clydesdale horse.
“Heavy horses have often been lost in battle, particularly in the First World War when thousands of horses went to war but the majority of them never returned home.”
Throughout the year visitors to Hay Farm have given donations to buy purple poppies on which they write a message and pin them to the ‘horse’.
The appeal has been so successful that during the summer the horse was completely filled with poppies and a second one was added to the wall, which now only has a small amount of space left.
Vivienne and her daughter Anna, who also helps run the business, are honoured to have been invited to visit the Household Cavalry in November where they will hand over the funds raised through the appeal.Anna said: “We are overwhelmed by the support and generosity this appeal has received from our visitors. To date the purple poppies have raised just over £1,000, and we are hoping that over the next couple of weeks our second horse will be filled with poppies and we’ll be able to add a bit more to the final total.”Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre, a RBST approved conservation centre, is open to the public Tuesdays-Sundays until the end of November.