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Downton Abbey Stars Shine Spotlight on Animal Welfare at Awards Presentation

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Celebrities recently gathered at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London for the fourth annual Burgess/Wetnose Animal Rescue Awards to celebrate the efforts of small and medium-sized independent rescue organizations which make a big impact on the lives of animals around the world. DogTipper will showcase the awards recipients throughout the week, starting with Medical Detection Dogs and Animals Asia:

As actors they have offered television viewers a peek into the past on Downton Abbey, but through their real life roles as animal advocates Lesley Nicol and Peter Egan offer hope for a brighter tomorrow for our four-legged friends.

An ambassador for Medical Detection Dogs, Lesley Nicol (known to fans of  the popular period drama as head cook Mrs. Patmore) joined actress Rula Lenska in presenting the evening’s Best Service Award to the deserving charity.

Launched in 2008, the Milton Keyne-based charity trains specialist dogs (many of them rescues) to detect human diseases and alert their health-compromised guardians to any changes in their condition.  In May 2012 the organization named on of their dogs-in-training Patmore in honor of the character made famous by Ms. Nicol.

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The Downton Abbey character of Hugh “Shrimpy” MacClare may have had a love of deer stalking, but in real life actor Peter Egan has a passion for compassion toward all animals. A famous friend to all with fur, fins or feathers, the star– who is actively involved with such organizations as All Dogs Matter, Prietenii Nostri Dog Rescue and the Dog Rescue Federation– made a return appearance at the Burgess/Wetnose Animal Aid Rescue Awards after announcing last year’s recipient of the Best Rescue Story Award. Along with Virginia McKenna, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, the actor proudly presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia.

Peter Egan is an ambassador of Animals Asia, an animal rights group which strives to end animal abuse in China’s zoos; stop China’s dog-and-cat-killing campaigns and the dog and cat meat trade; and put an end to the practice of bear bile farming in China and Vietnam. (The actor recently returned from a visit to Animals Asia’s bear sanctuary in Chengdu, where he had the chance to see the organization’s work up close.)

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The Burgess Wetnose Animal Rescue Awards is an annual presentation made possible by Andrea and Gavin Gamby-Boulger, the founders of Wetnose Animal Aid, which has provided both financial and information-based support to animal welfare organizations since 2006.

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Photos courtesy Wetnose Animal Aid

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