Paws For Remembrance: Dog Lovers Gather At Annual Memorial Fundraiser

Hundreds of dogs and their owners braved the cold for the event in Staffordshire.

Hundreds of dogs and their owners took part in the annual 'Paws for Remembrance' event at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Dogs are welcome there all year round, but during 'Paws for Remembrance', the four-legged visitors are given access to more of the site, an opportunity they embrace with enthusiasm.

The 150-acre arboretum is the home of the national Armed Forces Memorial, which bears the names of service personnel killed during their duties as a result of terrorism since the end of the Second World War.

The 150-acre arboretum is the home of the national Armed Forces Memorial.

In October 2016, it opened a £15.7-million Remembrance Centre, following a major fundraising campaign supported by numerous individuals and organisations.

'Paws for Remembrance' is in its fourth year. Each hopeful hound has to pay a £5 entry fee which raises valuable funds for the upkeep of the Arboretum.

In return, they get to explore a 3-kilometre walking route around the grounds.

For Anita Dyer, it was a return to a place with special meaning:

“My father belonged to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, passed away in 2017 and this is somewhere we came to when they dedicated it.” 

She brought along her dogs, with husband George, who said: "It's such a lovely place to come anyway, and when you can bring your dogs and they enjoy it as well."

The event is now in its fourth year.

Sarah Oakden, head of marketing at the Arboretum, said: “Since 2016, we have welcomed thousands of dog lovers and their four-legged friends to our annual Paws for Remembrance events and throughout the year to explore our dog walking route on the hardstanding paths around the site.

"The event raises valuable funds for the upkeep of the Arboretum through a £5 per dog suggested donation."

Organizer Mark Ellis says the annual event is proving a firm favourite with visitors and their canine pals: “Dogs have been our companions through the millennia.

"Service dogs have always been part of our association with animals.

"I think many people do think about that while they’re here on site, and that’s another special reason for people to be here.”