An event in Dorchester is set to recognise the animals that served alongside humans during wartime.

Brewery Square’s dray horse will be decorated with a purple poppy wreath, in honour of the animals that served during World War One.

The Purple Poppy Day initiative is looking for volunteers to knit poppies that will be sold during this year’s armistice memorials. Purple poppies symbolise memory and respect for the animals who were killed in service between 1914 and 1918.

There were around eight million horses and one million dogs from all over the world played a role in the First World War.

Barbara Laurie, the organiser of the event, said: “We would like to provide some funding for two local charities by selling knitted purple poppies to raise money for animal welfare charities.

"We are inviting as many knitters as possible to join in, we have a pattern available to work from or you can knit whatever size or design you prefer.”

The event will be raising money for two charities:

• The Horse Course – working primarily with those aged eight to 24 years old, the charity teaches, rehearses and repeats key resilience skills across a five-day programme with horses.

• Pawsome Pensions – an independent fund set up to help support retired police and fire dogs from the Devon, Dorset and Cornwall police and fire services.

Charlotte Spracklen, centre manager at Brewery Square, said: “With Drummer the dray horse such a focal point of the development, it made sense to help Barbara with the organisations for Purple Poppy Day.

"Animals have played a large part in our lives throughout history and this organisation will help to raise important funds for two great charities.”

On Sunday, November 10, the group will host an event at Brewery Square with speakers, a two-minute silence, and the opportunity to purchase the handmade purple poppies.

Cat Abbott, marketing manager for Brewery Square, said: "Volunteers are required from now until November, so any support during that time will be greatly appreciated."

Contact organiser Barbara Laurie for more details or to get involved with the project. You can get in touch with her by emailing or by calling 01305 871532.