International celebrity Patrick the Pony, who is well known in the South Hams, has thrown his support behind the global campaign to raise awareness of Lyme disease.

The five-year old miniature Shetland and his owners Kirk and Hannah Petrakis teamed up with Alice Reeve - an award-winning campaigner for improving understanding of Lyme disease, ME and fibromyalgia - for a special photoshoot in Cockington.

Patrick is unofficial mayor of the village near the South Hams border and hit the headlines around the world when he was appointed last summer.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. It is estimated that more than 14 per cent of the world’s population have, or have had, Lyme disease. Celebrity sufferers include Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Martine McCutcheon, Justin Bieber and Alec Baldwin. Symptoms can include arthritis, brain fog, heart problems, fatigue and reduced sex drive.

And with May being Lyme Disease Awareness Month worldwide, Hannah said: “Patrick feels really privileged to be helping raise awareness of Lyme disease. He was delighted to meet Alice and thinks she is doing a wonderful job with her campaigning.”

Alice, 48, has suffered from Lyme disease for 24 years. In 2019 she received a lifetime achievement award in The Breeze Local Heroes, which recognised her efforts fighting for the Lyme, ME and fibromyalgia community nationally.

She said: “It’s very important to raise awareness of Lyme disease as many people suffer in silence.

‘‘Patrick has global attention, and Lyme disease needs to be brought to a global audience to give those silent voices representation and help educate the public about the disease.’’

PICTURED: Alice Reeve with Patrick