Fiona Oakes
I didn't start out to run an animal sanctuary, I have always loved horses but funnily enough I have never been particularly attracted to the riding aspect, it is the looking after & caring for that I am interested in.

Having brought one of my horses (Max) down to Essex from Chesterfield (as I was missing him so much), I began to realise that even in reputably caring livery yards some horses were getting a very raw deal.

in 1996 I was lucky enough to be able to move to a small holding in the wilds of Essex, where I now live with my menagerie - which has expanded significantly - Circa 400
Fiona was born in Chesterfield, moved to Oxford to attend college & then to London where she worked several years for a number of merchant banks & stockbrokers. However due to the long hours she found it difficult to combine with her sport & training - cycling - in which she has competed at events all round the world
From here I just seem to have acquired one poorly horse after another, and that's how the sanctuary started. On top of the horses I had also a large collection of previously unwanted rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas & hamsters all based in a rather overcrowded two bedroomed bungalow.

I decided to look for a companion for Max, and went to look at a horse in Newbury. I was shocked at the poor condition her was in, and more so that the owners seemed to be oblivious. They asked me to try him out, which I reluctantly agreed to do, but he was too weak to do anything more than walk. Oscar was totally unsuitable for what he was being sold as. I took him home that afternoon and spent the next three years working to improve his condition.


My philosophy is that I am privileged to be able to care for my animals, I do not regard them as my property. I do not attach a financial value to any of them. I try to allow them to interact with each other, where appropriate, in as natural environment as possible with me being there as the "overseer & carer".

My objectives are to give every animal in my care, love and the best possible quality of life I can, and when the time comes, dignity in death.

I manage the Sanctuary on my own which is a 7 days a week, 365 days a year commitment with - my partner assists at the weekends.

I have not had a holiday or even a meal out in 18 years. I have never even had a 'take-away' of any kind !

Another major consequence of running the sanctuary is that I have had to stop competing in my main sport (cycling) as I am unable to take the time out to get to the events. I still keep myself fit with all the work at the sanctuary and  endeavor to run between 80-100 miles per week and get out on my bike whenever I can.

It is difficult to make ends meet with this many mouths to feed, and also to cover the vets bills, so if you would like to help me please click here, or follow the "Help me Please"  link on the main page. The feeding costs are around £6500 per month alone. Vets bills are additional

Please note that 100% of any donation you may wish to make will go directly to the animals upkeep. I take no wages, I have no staff to pay & there are no administration fees to cover. This site is maintained free of any charge to the Sanctuary.
This page was last updated on: August 16, 2013
at the Bristol VegFest - the largest festival of its kind in Europe



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Fiona with Murphy in 2006
Fiona just before starting a 30 mile training run on August 14th 2011

Some Marathon Results

  • 5th place in Florence 2004
  • 17th place in Berlin 2006
  • 22nd place in London 2006
  • 8th place in Amsterdam 2005
  • 1st place in Halstead 2007 (Course Record held)
  • 1st place Santa Claus Marathon 2010 (Finland) Course Record
  • 1st place in Great North Run (Masses Race) 2010
  • 1st place Ruska Marathon (Finland) 2011 - Course Record
  • 1st place Dartmoor Vale 2011 - Course Record
  • Marathon des Sables - 2012
  • 1st place North Pole Marathon - 2013 Course Record
  • 1st Place Isle of Man Marathon 2013