Mum proud as Banbury girl, 9, reads WWI dogs poem at national ceremony

Isla Gardner reads her poem at the Animals in War Memorial event. Photo courtesy of Dogs Trust
Isla Gardner reads her poem at the Animals in War Memorial event. Photo courtesy of Dogs Trust

A nine-year-old girl from Banbury read her poem about the role of dogs in World War One at a ceremony in London on Friday.

Isla Gardner proudly recited her poem, Jobs of War Dogs, at the annual Animals in War Memorial event after winning a Dogs Trust competition.

Isla Gardner with fellow competition winner Anab Omar, ten, from Starks Field Primary School in Enfield, London. Photo: Fiona Gardner

Isla Gardner with fellow competition winner Anab Omar, ten, from Starks Field Primary School in Enfield, London. Photo: Fiona Gardner

The Cropredy Primary School pupil, from Hanwell Fields, was one of two schoolchildren to perform, and mum Fiona Gardner said she did brilliantly.

“I’m really proud of her as are the school, she was really brave and read so well. She’s really proud of herself too and couldn’t wait to tell everyone at school –it brought a tear to the eye,” she said.

Isla entered the competition after a Dogs Trust talk at her school and Fiona said she was ‘over the moon’ to find out she had won.

Her poem was all about the varying roles played by different breeds of dog.

Isla Gardner at the Animals in War Memorial. Photo: Fiona Gardner

Isla Gardner at the Animals in War Memorial. Photo: Fiona Gardner

The Animals in War event at the Park Lane memorial remembered the millions of four-legged casualties of the First World War.

Animals in attendance this year include horses from the Household Cavalry led by Major Nicola Housby and Dogs Trust rescue dog, Peanut the Terrier cross.

Dogs Trust acting chief executive Jim Monteith said: “Every year this event is an opportunity to celebrate the immense bravery of the animals that served alongside our soldiers in battle and take time to pause and reflect.It’s incredibly moving to see so many animals and organisations’ coming together each year in London and it is vital we continue to remember the animals of war and ensure they are never forgotten.”