Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is once again inviting working dogs and their owners to a remembrance service this November.
The annual service, now in its fourth year, was inspired by Freda, a Dalmatian-type dog that was the New Zealand Rifles’ mascot, when the regiment was stationed on Cannock Chase during the First World War. She died in 1918, while the regiment was training on Cannock Chase, and is buried there.
In memory of Freda, and dogs like her, the AONB is holding a service at her grave, which is off Chase Road, near Stafford.
Last year, 34 people and 14 dogs gathered at Freda’s grave to take part in the ceremony. This included listening to readings and poems, and laying wreaths on the grave.
Ruth Hÿtch, Cannock Chase AONB Officer, said: “This is always a popular and moving event. The efforts of our working dogs are sometimes forgotten, and so this is a chance to remember them and to thank them for their loyalty and service.
“Whether you are remembering the bravery of a military or police dog, or a missed service dog, everyone is welcome to come to this short service. You are very welcome to bring your dog to the special service, and we’re sure they will enjoy a walk in the beautiful surroundings of Cannock Chase.”
Freda’s grave is 0.6 miles south east of Brocton Village, near Stafford. It is marked ‘Meml’ on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 244 – Cannock Chase and its grid reference is SJ978188.
The Milford Common Trail passes the grave. A leaflet is available from the nearby Cannock Chase Visitor Centre at Marquis Drive in Cannock Chase Country Park.