Actress leaves £900,000 to secure future of sanctuary

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An actress and animal welfare campaigner has left a legacy worth more than £900,000 to help secure the future of a sanctuary.

Alexandra Bastedo founded the ABC Champions Animal Sanctuary, based in West Chiltington, more than 30 years ago with the aim of looking after sick and unwanted animals.

Actress Alexander Bastedo at the ABC animal sanctuary ENGSUS00120120905154829

Actress Alexander Bastedo at the ABC animal sanctuary ENGSUS00120120905154829

The actress, who made her name as Sharron Macready in the 1960s TV series The Champions, died of cancer aged 67 in January 2014.

In her will the former Absolutely Fabulous and Eastenders star, who was also a columnist for the County Times, left the charity her home and ten acres of land as well as a ‘small’ sum of money.

The Mail on Sunday reported the value of the donation left by the star was worth more than £900,000.

A statement released on behalf of the trustees at the charity said: “Alexandra’s wish was namely that the house and land and any residual cash would belong to the sanctuary.

“Ninety-five per cent of the value of her estate is in the house and the ten acres of land which the sanctuary occupies; any cash remaining after other beneficiaries have been paid, will be small.”

Alexandra, who married theatre director and actor Patrick Garland in 1980 at Chichester Cathedral, had no children to inherit her estate.

The Mail reported she left £10,000 to her godson, £5,000 each to her niece and two nephews and £9,000 to three other friends.

The remaining total was given to the sanctuary to which she dedicated more than 30 years of her life.

In 2001 she moved from her home in Chichester to a smaller property with more land in West Chiltington to allow the charity to expand.

It is now full of animals but the charity has warned even with Alexandra’s generous donation it still needs the public’s support.

A spokesman for the trustees said: “The sanctuary has not become instantly rich and will still need all the fundraising possible to keep up its work.

“We very much appreciate everyone’s support now and over the years and we look forward to continuing the work of The ABC Animal Sanctuary.”

As well as supporting her own charity Alexandra was also a patron for Paws Animal Rescue, in Findon, Compassion in World Farming, Wildlife Aid, The Animal Welfare Trust, Greyhounds in Need and Naturewatch.

She was also president of Chichester Cat and Rabbit Rescue, vice president of the Brent Lodge Bird Hospital and spent time as president at the RSPCA branch in Mounty Noddy, in Chichester, before focusing on the ABC Champions Animal Sanctuary.

The sanctuary cares for sick and unwanted animals including donkeys, ponies, sheep, goats, pigs dogs and cats and has received the backing of many famous faces such as Joanna Lumley, Virginia McKenna and Sue Jameson. It is supported by four trustees and more than 60 volunteers which keep it running in all weather conditions, seven days a week.

For more information visit www.abcanimalsanctuary.co.uk