Celebrities have been dressing up in the guise of classic equine-associated roles in aid of the Brooke Hospital for Animals.

The unique collection of star-studded photos has been compiled to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Brooke, which attends to the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules in Egypt, Jordan, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The “Stars in Their Saddles” gallery includes:

  • Laurence Llewelyn Bowen as Dick Turpin
  • Jenny Seagrove as Calamity Jane
  • Leah Wood as Maid Marion
  • Joanna Lumley as Madam Butterfly
  • Anthea Turner as Prince Charming

These images are a part of the book A Helping Hand, which also shows striking scenes from the countries where the charity works to act as a reminder of the harsh reality that faces the Brooke in its daily work to improve conditions for equines in developing countries.

“The launch of our new book of photography – ‘A Helping Hand’ – has been a resounding success. The exhibition of the photos from the book makes a perfect display for the guests and really captures the deep relationship between horses and donkeys and their owners in the developing world,” says Mike Baker, Brooke’s Chief Executive.

The charity was established in the early thirties, when Dorothy Brooke appealed to the public for funds to end the suffering of British ex-army horses overseas. The horses had been in service during the First World War, but were sold to a life of hard labour in Cairo when the conflict ended in 1918.

Jenny Seagrove as Calamity Jane (right)

“In poorer countries, if anything happens to a family’s working equine that family may not eat. By guarding the welfare of these horses, ponies and donkeys – such noble, loving creatures – the Brooke helps them and their owners too. This is a fantastic double whammy. Your charity is truly extraordinary.”

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen as Dick Turpin (above right)

“I rode a lot when I was younger and think horses are adorable creatures. In Britain we do have a soft-focus view of them. What the Brooke does is re-direct this natural sentiment and uses it is achieve profound and lasting good for working equines and their owners abroad.”

Emma Milne BVSc MRCVS as Joan of Arc (below)

“As a vet I know how important it is for members of our profession to relate to the owners of animals we treat and to understand their needs. Brooke vets are all nationals of the countries in which they operate – this is why they’re so incredibly effective at teaching people good animal welfare practices. I also know how hard the job can be in the best of conditions but every time I visit I am constantly amazed at the relentless determination and dedication the Brooke vets show.”

  • A Helping Hand is available from the Brooke Hospital (tel: 0207 930 0210) or e-mail info@thebrooke.org
  • Pictures courtesy of John Wright