Last Thursday I put on my glad rags and headed out to the Collars and Coats Gala at Battersea Evolution, in aid of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Of course as the proud owner of a rescue dog I fully support any attempts to make lives better for dogs and cats; and an added attraction was the chance to see David Gandy – as in DAVID GANDY – in the flesh.
When we arrived there were lots of dogs on the red carpet; some of them were military dogs, accompanied by soldiers, but others were residents at Battersea, hoping for a home. Among them was this beautiful husky, just 11 months old. She had been at the home for a month. If we didn’t have Yoda I would seriously have considered adopting her. All the dogs were happy to be stroked and have their ears rubbed; I wish I could have given homes to them all.
The evening was very glamorous – the presenters included Amanda Holden and Craig Revel Horwood, and Jacqueline Wilson and Paul O’Grady were there. But there were several incredibly moving moments: the first when Claire Horton, the Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, asked if she could find 15 people to donate £3000 each for a new operating theatre and within five seconds 20 people had stood up. And the second when a procession of Chelsea Pensioners and soldiers took to the stage, with dogs, to honour all those dogs who have served in wars.
What I hadn’t realised was the part Battersea played in the First World War. In fact, 20,000 dogs, many from Battersea, became part of a specialist canine brigade, doing vital work such as running messages, carrying munitions and first aid supplies, and warning their battalions of incoming shells. It makes me cry just thinking about it now.
When we’d wiped away our tears and donations had been made, it was the chance to hit the dance floor – and of course, try to meet David Gandy (or as we like to call him, DAVID GANDY). It took a little while to break through the sea of admirers who were constantly surrounding him, but finally we made it. My friends suddenly lost the power of speech, so it was left to me to do the talking. I introduced myself and he was utterly charming and very sweet (needless to say he smells delicious), and when I asked if we could have our photo taken with him he was only too happy to oblige. What an incredibly nice guy.
But of course, like us, he was there for a good cause, and that’s to raise funds for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Even if you can’t adopt a dog or cat at the moment, there are so many ways you can help. You can find out more at battersea.org.uk
*Thank you to Viking Cruises, one of the sponsors of the event, for inviting me as their guest.