Finding a space was easy when a community member approached the Service’s chaplain, Rev. Walter Kelly, with a framed photo of two horses she wanted to present to the organization.
At the Blessing of the Animals ceremony last October, at St. Olave’s Anglican Church, longtime parishioner and artist Annis Tebbutt did a few line-sketches of two of the Service’s horses that attended the event with their handlers.
In early October each year, the custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Francis, whose feast day is October 4, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town.
“The police horses are such beautiful animals,” said Tebbutt, the chair of the church’s Arts Guild and the sole proprietor of DeniMural. “I took the sketches of the two that were in the church yard at last October’s event and adapted them into a full-scale portrait. It was done in pastel and I framed it.”
Rev. David Burrows, chaplain at 14 Division and the church’s rector, contacted Kelly to find a space where the painting should be located.
Kelly had an immediate answer.
“Even though his promotion has taken him away from Mounted, I consider Superintendent Bill Wardle the godfather of horses and suggested the painting should hang in his new office,” said Kelly.
Wardle, who authored The Mounted Squad, a historical account of the history of mounted police in the city, is the unit commander at 54 Division.
“We have sent horses to the Blessing of the Animals for the past three years and our dogs were there last year,” Wardle pointed out. “I decided it was a wonderful way for our officers to meet and interact with the community. This was yet another way to expose our people and animals who serve this city so well.”
Accompanied by Burrows, Tebbutt made the presentation on Feb. 7.