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Sir Peter Is Odds On Favourite With Working Horses

At this year’s Grand National the winners will be the working horses of some of the world’s poorest people, thanks to the generosity of Sir Peter O’Sullevan.
At Aintree the veteran race commentator will be donating £25,000 to the Brooke Hospital for Animals, to support its tireless work giving free veterinary care to working equines in Egypt, Jordan, India and Pakistan.

Sir Peter, a Brooke Hospital patron who is renowned for his devotion to horses, raised the money by organising a charity lunch. “I have been accumulating debt to the horse for some 80 years and the Brooke is the most marvellous means of helping me to discharge it,” he said. “It is an incomparable hands on organisation whose constant work merits infinitely wider recognition.”

His much-needed donation comes after a dramatic year for the Brooke, which has pushed its teams of mobile equine hospitals to the limits. Since March 2001 Brooke veterinary teams in Pakistan have treated thousands of exhausted, sick and starving horses and donkeys owned by refugees fleeing Afghanistan, often working round the clock to help up to 300 animals a day. In January last year Brooke emergency units treated working equines injured in the Gujarat earthquake and distributed life-saving fodder to many more.

These disasters helped push the number of equine treatments carried out by Brooke vets to more than a million.

Last summer Brooke vets went into action amid distressing scenes at the racecourse in Karachi, Pakistan. The Brooke Hospital’s mission to Karachi was undertaken with the help of a £5,000 donation from the International League for the Protection of Horses. A financial dispute at the racecourse had left racehorse owners penniless and many abandoned their animals at the racecourse in temperatures of over 50°C with little access to any form of food and water: by the time Brooke vets arrived 70 had starved to death…we were able to save scores more.

The Brooke has just learned that one of the racehorses it saved is once again winning races. Raysham, a bay mare, now fully recovered from the effects of dehydration and starvation, came first over five-furlongs in Karachi.

Sir Peter says, “The story of Raysham is a triumphant testimony to the work of the Brooke Hospital and shows why it deserves the support of anyone who loves horses.”

Sir Peter will present his cheque to Gerri McHugh, Director of Fundraising and Communications for the Brooke Hospital for Animals at 12.15pm this Saturday 6 April in the winner’s enclosure at Aintree.

The Brooke Hospital for Animals, founded in 1934, with headquarters in London provides free veterinary treatment for the working horses, donkeys and mules of poor people in Egypt, Jordan, India and Pakistan. A key part of this work is the education of owners and users in sound animal management.

Mobile clinics consist of a vet, two veterinary nurses or ‘dressers’, and a driver traveling in a van. This contains medical equipment and a canvas shelter that is erected to provide a shaded treatment area.

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