Many, many years ago, I came across an advertisement in a magazine for a horse sanctuary in Norfolk. Redwings was desperately trying to raise funds to take care of its fifteen hundred or so rescued horses, ponies and donkeys.
As a long time horse lover, who had never had the chance to own a pony or horse of my own, I decided that this was very much something I wanted to help with, and duly sent off to adopt a pony. I well remember the excitement when my folder arrived, containing a letter and photograph of my selected pony, a bright bay chap called Pepper.
Sadly, Pepper is no longer with us, and I lost touch with Redwings after moving house several times. In the meantime, the founder of the sanctuary, Wendy Valentine, had set up another rescue centre for ill-treated and abandoned farm animals. I signed up to donate to that sanctuary by direct debit, and still do to this day. However, the house moves meant that, though I was still sending the money, I was no longer receiving any information from the sanctuary.
Recently, as followers of this blog will know, I went on a trip to Norfolk, and as I was browsing through some leaflets in a pub one evening, I came across two names I immediately recognised. Both Redwings and Hillside have bases in Norfolk, and I realised I might actually have the chance to visit one of them after all those years.
Sadly, I never got close to the sanctuaries, but I hung onto the leaflets and, as soon as I got home, I got in touch with them to register with them, and to adopt two new animals.
Readers of my Kearton Bay novels will know that donkeys feature in them, especially in the first book, There Must Be an Angel. I decided, therefore, to sponsor a donkey instead of a horse or pony, and selected a gorgeous little girl called Esther. Esther was rescued by Redwings when she was just two months old. Her mother was so thin she couldn’t even produce enough milk to feed her baby! How sad is that? Esther is now thriving, and here’s her picture to prove it. Isn’t she beautiful?
From Hillside, I decided that, because of my new-found passion for sheep since writing This Other Eden, I would adopt the sanctuary’s baa baa black sheep, Beauty. She’s not a Swaledale sheep, unlike the ones in my book, but she’s just as lovely. Beauty was about to be shot when Hillside rescued her. She was so weak that she lay down in the lorry during her journey to the sanctuary, and didn’t have the strength to get up again. She had to be picked up and carried into a stable. Now she’s having the time of her life with all her rescued pals.
If you would like to adopt a horse, pony, mule or donkey from Redwings, you can do so here.
If you would like to adopt a horse, donkey, cow, goat, alpaca, rabbit, cow, sheep, pig, turkey, hen, mule, dog, or duck from Hillside, you can do so here.
You’ll get a certificate, photograph, information and updates from your rescued animal, and will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping to make life that little bit better for our furry or feathered friends.
I have a feeling that I haven’t finished adopting yet. I do have other books in the pipeline, after all, and there may well be an animal or two in them…
Have a great week