Naomi the rabbit was among the well-wishers paying her last respects at an animal lover’s funeral service last Monday (9/6/10).
The coffin of John Graham Butler – who ran the Bunny Burrows rescue centre with wife Gwen – arrived in church adorned with carrots, apples and other rabbit favourites.
As mourners left the church, “Run Rabbit Run” played over the speakers.
Mr. Butler died last month aged 65, following a four-year battle with cancer.
Katherine Carr, family friend and lay preacher, paid tribute to the retired soldier and civil servant.
She described him as “completely lovable,” adding: “We will treasure the memories of him – a very, very special person.”
A number of mourners, including volunteers who help at the rescue centre, wore Bunny Burrows sweatshirts and T-shirts to the service.
Naomi, a dwarf lop-eared rabbit, was carried in behind the wicker coffin.
Mr. Butler came from an Army family. He joined the Royal Signals and served in numerous countries, including Germany, Belgium and Northern Ireland.
He ended up being based at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, where he met his future wife at the Vintage Hotel, Scotch Corner.
They married six months later on Mr Butler’s birthday.
Mr. Butler helped his wife take in, care for and rehome hundreds of rabbits and guinea pigs.
Among these was Tallulah, who made national headlines when she had a tummy tuck operation after becoming overweight.
Another Bunny Burrows resident, Phoenix the French lop-eared, who weighed in at 6.3kg, featured on ITV’s This Morning in a discussion about obese pets.
Other visitors to Bunny Burrows have included Friday, a miniature lop-eared rabbit, who was spotted by a passing motorist sitting next to a dead guinea pig in a field near Harrogate.
The rabbit was later diagnosed with deadly myxomatosis, but was nursed back to good health by Mr and Mrs Butler. In 1997, their work was featured on Channel 4’s Pet Rescue.
Mrs. Butler has vowed to continue running the centre.
Bunny Burrows is a registered charity which relies solely on donations.
For details on donating, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to read the original story in The Northern Echo.