Canine's custom coat commemorates Armed Forces Week

Barry And District News: COAT: Bill Lyddon with Malaika COAT: Bill Lyddon with Malaika

AMONG those paying tribute to to the Armed Forces at next week's parade will be a miniature schnauzer named Malaika.

Sporting a custom made remembrance coat made by owner Bill Lyddon, Malaika will be attending the parade through Barry on Monday, June 23, which marks the beginning of Armed Forces Week.

Former RAF cook Bill, 74, of Robins Lane, Barry, explained that with no experience of sewing or textiles he began making coats for six-year-old Malaika two years ago at Christmas.

Bill decided to create a fairy light strewn red and white Christmas coat for his dog and the reaction to it was so positive that he embarked on another project soon after.

The latest creation is a coat that was planned for use next Remembrance Sunday but will now be unveiled at next week's Forces March.

It carries both the traditional red poppy and also a purple poppy, used to remember the animals that died during the war.

Bill, a retired former BP Chemicals employee, explained that despite his lack of experience he had become so quickly adept at creating coats for his pet.

"The Christmas coat was the first time I've done it," he said. "I had 50 or 60 people all asking me to make coats for them after it.

"My mother was a seamstress so whether it was born into me, I don't know."

The coats Bill creates are made from items picked up in charity shops and assembled at home on his sewing machine.

With the remembrance coat finished, Bill already has his next project planned.

"I've got one in mind for Hallowe'en," he said.

The Armed Forces march, to commemorate 75 years of the RAF in south Wales, starts from King's Square, Barry at 10.30am on Monday, June 23.

The salute will be taken at the Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry.

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