More volunteers, new rescues and a firewalk for ABC animal sanctuary

Winter is coming, the nights are drawing in, the grass has pretty much disappeared, and the horses are getting their winter coats.

Sue Jameson, president of ABC Animal Sanctuary, with the crew SUS-141027-144602001
Sue Jameson, president of ABC Animal Sanctuary, with the crew SUS-141027-144602001

So spare a thought for our stalwart volunteers who brave the cold to care for all our rescued animals, come rain or shine.

We are lucky to have several new helpers as well, including students from Brinsbury and Plumpton Colleges and two people doing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. It’s so good to see youngsters learning about proper animal care.

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Meanwhile, in spite of our decision to hold back on new arrivals for a while, sometimes it’s impossible to resist. Bob the Cob’s future was looking rather bleak.

His elderly owner could no longer keep him, and arthritis meant he couldn’t work now, so what could we do but take him in?

He’s a lovely old boy, as you can see from his picture. He’s been on his own for a long time, so he’ll take a while to settle in, but it looks as if he may take Marty’s place in my affections. l do love a big hairy old chap!

But he’s another mouth to feed, so we are incredibly grateful to all who made the Firewalk at Pulborough Rugby Club such a great success - the club staff, the volunteer cooks, the G.J.Group for the terrific music, the amazing Firewalk crew, and of course the 26 brave individuals who actually did the walk! As you can see from the pictures, they did themselves, and the ABC, proud!

They had two hours special training, shut away with an inspiring ‘firewalk guru’. We spectators stayed outside while the walkway was being carefully prepared, then as darkness fell we watched the lighting of the wood.

The flames shot up into the sky and at this point my one feeling was relief that I’d said no!

The flames died down to glowing embers, and we watched the group come out, barefoot, onto the grass with their trainer. They were quiet, some rather apprehensive, but all looked determined. One by one they crossed the 12 or so yards of hot coals, and when I saw their expressions change to triumph and delight as their feet touched cooling grass, I almost wished I’d said yes. (Almost!)

There was hot food on offer (chilli of course!) a bar for Dutch Courage, and all the walkers got a rather smart certificate. Very big thanks to all the sponsors, and to the Rugby Club who welcomed us. About £6,000 was raised by the sponsors. So – hot stuff all round!

NB for any worried fans, the walkway was strategically placed, so fear not - the pitch is unscathed!

A gentler treat is in store this coming Sunday. An Evening with Virginia McKenna at the Golden Willow Restaurant in Storrington.

The star of many movies, including the iconic wildlife adventure Born Free, she was a great friend to Alex, and the tale of Elsa the lioness touched all our hearts.

The actors’ long-standing relationship with the animals was really responsible for Virginia setting up the Born Free Foundation with her late husband, actor Bill Travers.

Their tireless work has helped keep many wild creatures where they belong – in the wild. Her life in films, and now Born Free’s many struggles and achievements will make for a fascinating evening.

She’ll be talking with actor Craig Henderson who some of you will know from our Open Days and other events. He’s another regular supporter, and a marvellous host and interviewer. A few tickets are left at £45, including a delicious Chinese meal, and things get under way at 7.00pm (Call Alan Sims on 01798 812081)

Lastly, a lady in Norfolk called recently offering a home for two pigs. Due to the distance, the transport problems, and all the DEFRA regulations etc it had to be a reluctant no. But very soon after, a man rang to say he had two Kune Kune pigs who would be slaughtered if not re-homed in the next couple of hours.

A real emergency, so Cheryl got straight back to the lady, and we’re delighted to report that between them they were able to sort everything out, and the Kunes have gone to a new caring home.

So through the sanctuary network two animals were saved. Good job done, and Alex would have been very pleased!

PS Don’t forget the ABC Christmas Fair - 12 noon on Saturday 6th Dec!

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Pictures contributed.