Scrubbed up well: Hero dog Jet gets a spring clean

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Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains
Of one
Who possessed Beauty
Without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man
Without his Vices.

–          Lord Byron

On Thursday morning past, the July 14, a visitor to the Sensory Garden at Calderstones would have been greeted with an unusual sight. Sixteen Year 5 pupils from Childwall C of E Primary School had been invited down by The Reader to help preserve a special monument.

The monument to Jet of Iada, a life-saving rescue dog, has been standing in Calderstones Park since the 1940s and over a wet and muddy winter the monument was not looking its best.

Jet was a local canine born on 21 July 1942 who became a national hero for saving 150 lives during the Blitz and who was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal (recognised worldwide as ‘the animals’ Victoria Cross’) and the RSPCA’s Medallion of Valour. The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict.

Jet led the Civil Defence VE Day parade through London and he later saved more lives during a mine collapse in Cumbria in 1947. When he died he was buried in Calderstones Park where he used to be walked, and a stone monument was erected in his memory.

It was a beautiful morning and, being in the walled gardens, the monument became a bit of a sun trap.  Buckets of warm water, soap, scouring pads, cloths and brushes where prepared and soon work began.

Jet Before and After
A before and after shot of the children’s hard work

The children were eager to get started and soon the monument was awash with suds, puddles and pupils.  If ever there was needed proof that many hands make light work then this was it.

A special treat for the children was to meet Jet’s former owner, 93 year old Lilias Ward who grew up with the Alsatian in Garth Drive, Allerton.

A reporter from the Liverpool Echo also visited to get some lovely shots of the monument, the children and Mrs Ward.

The children and The Reader were joined by the Friends of Harthill and Calderstones Park to promote the local history of Calderstones Park to schools in the area in conjunction with The Storybarn by offering chances to visit the park and get ‘hands on’ with its history.

Jet was a very brave and special dog, as the children at Childwall Primary have been discovering in their lessons. It’s fantastic that as well as visiting Jet’s memorial to celebrate him as a national hero, they got to meet Mrs Ward and share her fond memories of a dog that was more than just a pet.

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