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Redbridge cemetery for animal war heroes and Sir Bruce Forsyth’s dog forced to close after storm damage

PUBLISHED: 12:37 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:54 30 January 2018

The fallen tree at Ilford Pet Cemetery is over a path and several graves. Picture: PDSA

The fallen tree at Ilford Pet Cemetery is over a path and several graves. Picture: PDSA

Archant

A Redbridge pet cemetery which houses Sir Bruce Forsyth’s beloved Collie, Rusty, has been forced to close after strong winds brought down a large eucalyptus tree.

The graveyard at the back of the PDSA clinic, Woodford Bridge Road, is the final resting place of thousands of pets and decorated military animals.

The cemetery includes 12 recipients of the PDSA Dickin Medal – an award recognised worldwide as the animals’ Victoria Cross.

It also includes Peter, a Home Office cat who died in service in 1964 and a paratrooping Alsatian, Brian, who became fully qualified in his regiment when landing in Normandy in June 1944.

PDSA fears that the giant tree, which has stood in the cemetery for over 50 years and was donated by a visitor from Australia, may have damaged some of the gravestones on which it fell.

The pet wellbeing charity has launched a fundraising appeal to restore the site.

Shirley De’ath, client services manager at Ilford PDSA Pet Clinic, said lots of visitors come to the tranquil cemetery and memorial garden every week where they commemorate the much-loved pets that have passed on.

“It’s a special place for many owners and we hope that the public will rally round and help us to reopen the cemetery as soon as possible,” she said.

“A storm caused the tree to split in half, with one part lying across the cemetery and the other half still upright.

“We’ve had to close the cemetery and the visitor centre, because of safety concerns.”

PDSA exists to provide free and reduced-cost veterinary care to sick and injured pets belonging to people on low incomes. The charity receives no government funding to provide its veterinary services, relying on voluntary donations to provide its veterinary services.

Removing the tree and debris and repairing the damage will cost the charity, in the region of £3,000.

The fundraising appeal will enable the charity to carry out the necessary work so the cemetery can re-open to visitors as soon as possible.

Donations can be made online at pdsa.org.uk/petcemetery or call the charity on 020 8550 6644 for more information.

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