Bexhill meets Barby's call to arms

BEXHILL responded in style to the passionate plea of a well-known animal sanctuary owner on Sunday.

In an Observer preview for her annual open day, Barby Keel (right) urged residents to back her fundraising event, saying she needed all the help she could get while recovering from major gall bladder surgery.

And the town did not disappoint, with more than 2,500 people raising a bumper 10,383.

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"I asked everybody to get behind me and they have certainly come up trumps," said Barby. "It was absolutely fantastic. The weather was perfect. After Saturday when it rained I had a few tears, thinking everything had been ruined, but in the end it was perfect.

"Everybody deserves a big pat on the back."

The sum betters the usual taking of around 8,500 by almost 2,000, and has given Barby a real boost as she recovers from her operation.

"I'm very tired and aching now," she said. "But I don't care because we made it and got the money. I'd like to say to everybody, all my motley crew and all those who turned up, thank you so much. Without your support we could not keep going."

She singled out Trinity Wholefoods, of Trinity Street, Hastings, for giving sandwiches and vegeburgers, The Bell Hotel which donated drinks, ice lollies, and time manning a stall, and Corina who has let the field to Barby for the past ten years or so.

Doctors told Barby she would be up on her feet in around six weeks, but she is hoping to be out of a wheelchair within a fortnight.

The Freezeland Lane sanctuary, which currently houses around 600 animals, including horses, pigs and pigeons, costs around 6,000 a month to run.