A NEW song remembering the part played by animals in human conflict will be given its public debut this Remembrance weekend.

Steeton Male Voice Choir will perform 'If They Could Speak' at its annual concert in Ilkley on Saturday night, and again at the Service of Remembrance in Myrtle Park, Bingley, on Sunday morning.

The moving song recognises the part played by animals in war and conflict, particularly the First World War, which claimed the lives of eight million horses, donkeys, and mules alone.

The song asks: “If they could speak what would they tell, of the part they played in that war of hell?”.

In recognising their sacrifice, it also makes a solemn promise: “So brave and loyal, they had no choice. We will remember; be their voice.”

The choir is collaborating with the Murphy’s Army Purple Poppy Campaign in performing and recording the new song.

Launched in 2016, the campaign pays tribute to animals lost in service, and to those who serve us today. One of its founders is Bingley woman Karen Pritchard, who wrote the words for the new song, originally as a poem.

Karen’s father, Jeremy Law, sings in the Steeton Male Voice Choir, and together with deputy accompanist Peter Abberton, they set the words to music.

Now the choir will perform it in public for the first time this weekend, with Jeremy singing the song’s final solo line. The choir is also recording a new CD for release next year and hopes to include the track on it.

After hearing a sneak preview during a choir rehearsal, Karen Pritchard commented: “It was wonderful to hear for the first time, and very moving indeed.”

To find out more about the Purple Poppy Campaign, visit the website: theyalsoserved.org – or you can hear the choir perform the song, and many others, at its concert on Saturday, which also features Otley Brass Band.

It starts at The King’s Hall, Ilkley, at 7.30pm and tickets, costing £12, are available from tickets@steetonmalevoice.co.uk or by phoning 07704 123 176. For more information about the choir, visit: steetonmalevoice.co.uk