Racehorses help to launch Poppy Appeal

  • Two Newmarket racehorses – named after the last British veterans of the Great War – have helped to launch this year’s Poppy Appeal in Suffolk.

    “Harry Patch” and “Henry Allingham” are seen here with Harry’s owner, Gay Jarvis [widow of the late trainer, Michael] and cadets from The Queen’s Royal Lancers Detachment, based in Ipswich.

    “Harry” was bought by the Newmarket-based owner and trainer, Michael Jarvis, who died last month.

    He decided to name “Harry” after the war veteran, because the horse was bought during the Poppy Appeal in 2007.

    “Harry Patch was alive then,” said Mrs Jarvis, “so we wrote to him at his nursing home and asked permission. He was thrilled.

    “Our Harry won his first two races, so we sent Mr Patch a picture – and he sent us one back of him in all his medals, holding up the picture of the horse!”

    “Henry”, Harry’s chestnut half-brother, is owned by Richie Baines. A “rather immature two-year-old”, he has not yet run his first race.

    Mrs Jarvis told H&H that both horses behaved impeccably at the photoshoot.

    “They were incredible. We put poppies on their bridles and the cadets – who weren’t used to horses – were giggling away as the horses nibbled their hair,” she said.

    “Like all racehorses, they loved the attention. I hope the picture encourages everyone to give generously to the Poppy Appeal.”

    Nationwide, the British Legion is seeking to reach a record-breaking target of £40 million for the armed forces.

    The real Harry and Henry were the last two veterans of the First World War in the UK. Harry Patch, the last British “Tommy”, fought in the trenches of Flanders and was wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. He died in July 2009, aged 111.

    Henry Allingham, who also died in July 2009 – aged 113 – served in the Royal Navy during the First World War and was a founder member of the RAF.

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