Celebrities mingle with animals at West Chiltington sanctuary

ABC Animal Sanctuary 6 SUS-141108-172824001
ABC Animal Sanctuary 6 SUS-141108-172824001

Animal lovers were joined by some familiar faces at the ABC Animal Sanctuary in West Chiltington during its open days on August 2 and 3.

The Shetland ponies and donkeys entertained with races much to everyone’s delight with Eddie the Shetland a runaway winner.

ABC Animal Sanctuary 5 SUS-141108-172813001

ABC Animal Sanctuary 5 SUS-141108-172813001

Attractions also included a magician, children’s egg and spoon races, craft stalls, a barbecue, bric-a-brac, candy floss, face painting, pottery, plant sales, lucky dip, tea and cakes and much more.

People came from far and wide to see the animals at the sanctuary with Felix, one of the resident cats greeting everyone at the entrance.

Although, sadly, Alexandra Bastedo (founder of the ABC Animal Sanctuary) is no longer with us her friends and fellow actors Christopher Timothy, Sue Jameson and Virginia McKenna rallied round and supported the sanctuary by coming along over the weekend to meet everyone.

On Sunday the animal blessing was conducted by Rev Stephen Turrell with readings and poems from Sue Jameson and Christopher Timothy.

The animals stood in line with the volunteers while Rev Turrell passed along and blessed them.

During the hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful’, Louise the Donkey joined in braying.

Donna Randall came all the way from Ash Vale in Surrey with her family.

She said: “What a great day with so much to do and see for everyone. We thought it was a really well organised event and for such a brilliant cause. We had a great time.”

ABC Trustee Allan Sims said: “Everyone at the sanctuary misses Alexandra since her passing in January, especially the animals.

“However we are carrying on her wonderful work and the sanctuary will continue to go from strength to strength providing care to the animals we rescue - very much in keeping with Alex’s wishes.”

The sanctuary was founded by the late Alexandra Bastedo over thirty years ago.

Her first rescue was a donkey and since then the sanctuary has become home to unwanted donkeys, ponies, horses, miniature shetlands, sheep, goats, cats, pigs, poultry and wild birds.

The aims of the ABC Animal Sanctuary are to rescue abandoned animals and those in distress, to provide them with care and protection and, where possible, find them a new home where they can be happy, safe and properly cared for.

In some instances, where the animals are very old, need permanent special diets or have personality disorders through ill-treatment, they are guaranteed care and protection and a home at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives, cared for by the volunteers who work there.

To learn more about the sanctuary, visit www.abcanimalsanctuary.co.uk

Pictures supplied by ABC Animal Sanctuary trustee Gill Harris.