Algarve tragically loses leading philanthropist

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in Algarve · 04-04-2013 09:59:00 · 3 Comments
Algarve tragically loses leading philanthropist

Shockwaves ran through the Algarve community after long-term resident and key benefactor Peta Birch was tragically killed in a horrific car crash on the EN125 last week. On Tuesday, 2 April, close to two hundred people whose lives she has touched paid their respects to the dedicated humanitarian at a memorial service which took place at the Boliqueime Church.

After moving to the Algarve 43 years ago, Peta worked extensively with several charities and made a real difference to the families, children, animals and institutions she supported.
She dedicated 35 years to helping Albufeira’s Santa Casa da Misericórdia, in particular the Pirilampos home for children, and Amigos de Crianças. The family donated the land for the Pirilampos children’s shelter to be built upon and financed trips for the Santa Casa’s children.
Peta, who was in her early sixties, also lent her support to families in the Albufeira Marina gypsy camp, supplying them with clothing, food, and medical care as well as helping their animals and children.
An avid animal-lover she worked with SOS Algarve Animals, rescuing and fostering cats and dogs. In three years she fostered 72 puppies and started the ARC Horse Welfare partner group for neglected horses.
As testimony to Peta’s selfless nature, it was only after her untimely death that the full extent of her benevolence became known to many.
Following the tragic accident, tributes to the tireless humanist were abounding.

Patrícia Seromenho, head of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, described Mrs. Birch as being “like a mother” to the institution’s children, whose ages range from babies to eighteen-year-olds.
“Both Dona Peta and her husband were always readily available to help with anything at all. Building work, clothes, trips to the dentist. Peta would come to see the children every day and this home was like her home. The children will miss her greatly. It’s not just about the financial support; it’s about the love and care she gave all of the children”, she told The Portugal News.
This was echoed by animal rescue charity SOS Algarve Animals, who said: “With the greatest sadness on Wednesday we suffered the loss of a very special lady in a tragic accident. Peta is loved and missed by so many. We know no better person and the loss is immense.”
“Her work with animals, with rescuing, with fostering, with answering emergency calls was only a part of what she did. But it is a part where her support, dedication, and enjoyment in simply helping is irreplaceable”, the association added.
The ARC Horse Welfare promised to continue its co-founder’s good work: “Very sadly, one of the founders of ARC Horse Welfare, Peta Birch, was in a fatal car accident this week. We are devastated but our work will continue”, they pledged.
To ensure the continuation of her work, Peta’s family has set up a webpage in her name (http://www.peta and asked that donations be made to one of her favourite charities in lieu of flowers at her funeral.
Members of the Albufeira gypsy community were present at her funeral as were many of the children from the Santa Casa, who in a touching gesture made paper flowers to place on top of the coffin.
Peta Birch’s tragic death was the fourth to occur on the EN125 road this year. At a last count, since January, 14 people have been killed in road accidents in the Algarve.
The horrific accident happened in heavy rain shortly before 9am last Wednesday, 27 March, and involved three vehicles, one of them a people-carrier. Unconfirmed reports state the accident occurred when the 71-year-old driver of the people-carrier, which was allegedly transporting passengers to the Albufeira Health Centre, lost control of the vehicle.


I never knew/heard of this wonderful woman--but the fact that she helped so many children and animals makes me happy that she made portugal and the world a better place. Of course, I'm also very sad that she left so sympathies to the family and to all whom she 'touched' with her kindness.

by Julia from Other on 08-04-2013 05:50:00

Rip dear PETA x I only met her once but felt like she was a friend, what a wonderful human being, the Algarve has lost a true Angel xxx

by Jo bere from UK on 06-04-2013 12:34:00

A wonderful tribute to a woman who was so deservedly loved and respected. What a marvellous world this would be if there were more people like Peta. May God bless all her family.

by Miriam Richardson from UK on 05-04-2013 05:22:00
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