‘I will miss Laddie for a long time, forever I think,’ says Downham Market mascot dog owner

Downham and District Royal British Legion's mascot dog Laddie with handler William Wells, second from left, and RAF Marham Bluebirds Military Wives Choir. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Downham and District Royal British Legion's mascot dog Laddie with handler William Wells, second from left, and RAF Marham Bluebirds Military Wives Choir. Photo: SUBMITTED.

A well-known furry face of West Norfolk has died after several years of service in the community.

Laddie, a Ladnar Highland Collie, was the mascot dog for Downham and District Royal British Legion and the Desert Rats Association from 2010 onwards.

Downham and District Royal British Legion's mascot dog Laddie with handler William Wells at Mundford Tank, Desert Rat Memorial.

Downham and District Royal British Legion's mascot dog Laddie with handler William Wells at Mundford Tank, Desert Rat Memorial.

Laddie, who was 12-years-old and died on Wednesday, July 12, carried out a variety of duties in the area.

His trainer and handler William Wells, from Barton Bendish, said: “He was very special. I will miss him for a long time, forever I think.”

Mr Wells said Laddie took over from his predecessor Shane in 2010, who himself had been in the role since 1995.

He said: “Laddie, like Shane, carried out duties at funerals of veterans of all three services.

Downham and District Royal British Legion's mascot dog Laddie. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Downham and District Royal British Legion's mascot dog Laddie. Photo: SUBMITTED.

“He attended more than 100 funerals, at times leading the cortege and once he was asked to lead the coffin in to the church as the gentleman had been an RAF police dog handler.”

Laddie was a regular face at formal events, and also attended home-coming parades in Downham to support troops, as well as rededication of RBL standards and the laying up of standards.

“He was a busy lad,” Mr Wells said.

In addition to his formal commitments, Laddie was also a show dog and entered Crufts on a number of occasions, although he placed in the lower rankings.

He also had a role as a Canine Concern Therapy dog at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“Laddie attended fetes to demonstrate how dogs were used in the two world wars and today.

“They detect danger before it even happens, and they can cart, search for explosives and carry messages,” Mr Wells said.

“We never hear when they are killed or injured in action, but a lot of soldiers couldn’t work without them.”

Mr Wells said the Collie dog was presented with the rank of warrant officer following his attendance at the dedication of a memorial at RAF West Raynham.

The duties carried out by Laddie will now be passed on to Glenn, who has been in training whilst living with his predecessor.

Mr Wells said: “Warrant officer Laddie – your duty done, you may stand down.

“Thank you for your service, run free at rainbow bridge, always in our hearts.”