31st December - Happy New Year

A big thank you to everyone who has helped the rescued animals at the Sanctuary this year - and thank you to everyone who sent an extra donation for the Christmas Appeal !

If you are a member of the Sanctuary you should have received a Christmas card from the animals as a thank you, unless of course you have asked us not to send one. If you didn't receive one it's probably because we don't have your address ! If you would like one in future please let me have your details by e mail on the link above.

All the cards are hand made for Free by Fred E. Bear & his young assistant Sebastian who feature in one of the 2 Percy stories within this site - see here.

Hopefully we will be able to release another Percy adventure next year.

If you would still like to send a donation for the Christmas Appeal, you can do so on the Donate button at the top of this page - or by cheque payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, address - Asheldham, Essex. CM0 7DZ

Thank you ! Love from all the Gang !! XX

25th December - A busy Christmas !

Christmas Eve was particularly hectic as we had to collect food that had been donated to us from several different places. Both Martin & I collected a car load from Sainsburies and then we had to collect cat & dog food collected by the charity FACE (Fight Animal Cruelty Everywhere) from Tesco Chelmsford as well as Tesco Maldon.

(Our own abilities to collect food this year were compounded last weekend when our hay merchant dropped a half tonne bail of straw on Fiona's car - not joking - more bills...)

Ian very kindly stepped in and collected the food from Chelmsford whilst we did the Maldon run ! - We are very grateful to Linda Thacker from FACE and her team of volunteers for collecting all the food in her Sleigh over the Christmas period & also to Ian for helping us out & bringing a car load (6 full trolleys) over on Christmas Eve.

Thank you also to the ladies of the Burnham WI who prepared a hamper of Christmas treats and raised a donation of £78 which we were able to collect on Christmas Day for the animals.

Sadly on Christmas Eve Pasha, the elderly German Shepherd passed away leaving Fiona devastated. Pasha had been here for about 2 years, having been thrown out for being old from her previous home. She had been a particularly loyal Dog and had always slept by the side of Fiona's bed.

Loosing Pasha on Christmas Eve is a timely reminder that sadness, suffering and pain carry on 365 days a year and doesn't stop for Christmas. Pasha died peacefully and pain free having found her forever home and having been loved. Her parting at such a poignant time makes us even more determined to continue helping those who are not so fortunate  

24th December - Christmas Message
This year we have recorded a special video message from Pickles - see it here
23rd December - as predicted...

Yes, now that the water is back on, we have three stop taps which have succumbed to the expansion properties of ice and split ! - These are the "on/off" taps that are let into the water pipeline to switch off troughs for maintenance etc. So we need to buy three new ones !
22nd December - Water Back On !
The outside troughs have thawed now which is a huge relief - as I am sure you can imagine. All the pipeline will need checking at the weekend to ensure that there are no splits anywhere as clearly thats what tends to happen when pipes freeze !!
20th December - Freezing Conditions
All the outside water pipes have frozen solid ! - we have had to hand carry water from the house for all 35 horses & all the 50 Pigs (across the road) - it has taken 2 hours with Martins help to bucket all the necessary water. Not exactly what we had in mind...
13th December - Christmas Open Day
Thank you to all who came along on Sunday & despite the cold weather everyone enjoyed seeing the Sanctuary and the rescued animals. I will post some pictures to this site shortly. Special thanks to Ian & co who helped us with a few tasks last week !!
28th November - New House for Percy
Percy the Pig has managed to destroy his house, and so with the weather getting worse we had to get a new one sorted so he can stay dry ! - As it is he has made a large nest in a 1000 pound bale of straw we had lowered into his paddock, which he loves, but we needed to get him a roof asap.

Another Pig Arc would have been at least £300 & so necessity proved to be the mother of invention yet again !

Ian came over today to give me a hand building a new house & had a brain wave of moving an old house I built for the goats years ago (which is no longer used, as they have another). This house was in the same field as Percy's paddock, but about 250 yards away.

We were unable to pick it up as it was quite large & cladded with 3/4 ply (very heavy!) & had 8 tin sheets on the roof. So we set to work to dismantle it & when it was down to its frame we managed to carry it up the field & over into Percy's paddock, where we re-assembled it adjacent to the existing Pig Arc, which now has no roof ! (thanks to Percy who decided to modify it a bit)

Then we wombled some further roofing & joined new house to the old Pig Arc, extending the roof of the new house to cover the missing roof on the Arc.

I have to say, it worked out brilliantly & cost just £5 in nails and a few hammered fingers !! - everything else was recycled

Unfortunately, it was dark when we finished & so too late for a picture, but I'll try & get one tomorrow.

22nd November - Christmas Open Day

This year the Christmas Supporters Open Day will be on Sunday 13th December from Noon. If you plan to attend, please let me know we can adjust for catering etc !

16th November - Max update

Fiona spent all night with Max, and he started to get better in the small hours. It's clearly tempting fate to say he is 100% OK now, particularly as the vet said that she had never seen a horse recover from having such a high pulse rate without surgery. 90 beats is nearly 3 times the norm & an indication of extreme pain & therefore something very very wrong inside.

Thankfully we followed Fiona's instinct which was to give Max a bit more time to "sort himself out" as horses can sometimes do with a colic, despite the vets advice to either have him put to sleep or take him to the vets for more tests.

We were reluctant to take him to the vet as they had already said that they would not want to operate on a horse as old as Max, which meant that whatever tests they would do would only defer the inevitable decision to have him put down, only it would put him (& Fiona) through considerable trauma and also mean he was in a strange place with people he didn't know. Also if he was going to sort himself out, it would be better for him to do that in a place where he was familiar with the other animals & where Fiona could be with him all the time.

And this is what seems to have happened ! - The vet said it was a miracle !

Thank you to all who have responded to the appeal below, your kindness is very much appreciated by all the Gang !

15th November - Bad day at Black Rock

Today has been a really bad one - first thing this morning we found Max the horse had gone down in the night with what looked like a bad colic & appeared to be close to death. Fiona has looked after Max for 30 years & cannot remember a time without him - he is almost part of her.

We managed to get him to his feet, but after a few minutes he went down again looking very ill indeed. The vet was called & when she arrived she found that his pulse was racing at 90 whereas it should be between 30 & 40. Pain killers were administered through injection & she had to check Max's bowel for irregularity. Unfortunately all was not well inside his gut & the vet suggested we either send him for emergency surgery or consider having him put to sleep.

At 35 years old, the surgery route was not considered the best approach as the trauma at that age would not bode well - if indeed he were to survive an operation like that.

We decided to wait to see how things went, as the pain killers kicked in & he brightened up a little. Talking to the vet on the phone during the day, she felt that the only option was to put Max to sleep, but we were not sure.

Later in the afternoon, he went to the toilet which was a good sign that things were starting to move through his system, but as his pulse was still high it didn't mean we were out of the woods.

The vet came out again this evening and was pleased with Max's progress today - we are having to check him every 2 hours through the night, as further painkillers have been administered and things could go either way. He has eaten a little food tonight which we hope is a good sign.

He had to have a tube pushed up his nose & down into his stomach to see whether the blockage was causing a back up from his stomach, as in some cases the stomach fluids can come back up their nose & that is a terrible sign. Max hated having the tube inserted (& I can't say I blame him) and had to be anesthetised a little to allow this to be done

Fiona has been with him all the time - thank you to Ian & Catherine who came over to help with the jobs as also today on top of the usual work we have had to take delivery of the hay & straw - 9 half tonne bales. Also I picked up a dog from Southminster & also some people dropped off a Rabbit!

Clearly todays vets callout & fees will not be cheap & also we have to find £667 for Annushka's treatment & 3 day stay at the vets

To be honest, I think we have had it financially - I can't see the Sanctuary carrying on much longer unless we find more people to join & become supporters

Clearly we are grateful to all our existing supporters & those that support each project when it comes round over & over again, but unfortunately the tide of expense is just flowing too fast.

We have seen a few new supporters join in recent months, but more have stopped their support than new have started !

If you are a supporter, Please please please see if you can persuade a friend to help by joining too - it really doesn't have to be much on an individual basis. as few pounds a month, but if enough people join, we can carry on caring for these 400 rescued animals. - All donations go to the animals & nothing in expenses or other costs.

7th November - Annushka

Annushka is an Akita who was about to be put to sleep :0( - read about her here

5th November - Bob the Goat is stolen

If you are on the Sanctuary Facebook group you will already know about this, but basically on 28th October, the gate to Percy's field was cut with bold croppers & Bob the Goat was taken. Bob had lived with his brother Terry in that field for 10 years or so and it beggars belief that anyone would do such a thing.

It happened in the night, as the gate was locked at 8pm on the evening before but in the morning when Martin drove past to work, he saw that the gate was wide open. Now the gate is often open when we are moving the muck or when we have hay & straw deliveries & never in all that time has either Bob or Terry walked out of the field - they have no desire to leave, so we don't think that he just wandered away if it was that someone just cut the chain for no reason.

Terry is very quiet without his brother & clearly upset. The Police were informed & have taken a statement. - Someone also has started a Find Bob the Goat group on Facebook - but so far no news.

28th Shop

This month the shop raised £44 in commission for the Sanctuary last month from 17 people making purchases via the sanctuary shop page !

If you ever shop on line, please see if your retailer (i.e. Play.com, Ebay etc) is available via the sanctuary shop here. It costs you NOTHING more that going to the retailer direct, but go via the shop & the sanctuary earns commission if you buy anything! (paid by the retailer)


26th - Lush Grant

Lush the ethical cosmetics company have awarded the Sanctuary a grant towards the costs of preparing all the paddocks and houses for the loch lomond Pigs ! This is fantastic news and better still Lush have done a feature page about the Sanctuary on their website at this link here.

Even more fab is that the lids of the Lush Charity Pots will soon feature the new Sanctuary Piggy Logo ! The Lush Charity Pot is a pot of creme that is sold to raise funds that are distributed to causes Lush supports. Every penny raised from Lush Charity Pot sales (apart from the VAT!) goes to good causes !

23rd October - Chicken Run

Today Martin & his two trusty assistants drove down to Brighton in a borrowed van (thanks Neil!) to rescued 159 hens ! Every 80 weeks the hens at free range farms are slaughtered & a new batch arrives, however this particular farm lets the hens go to homes if they can be found.  The rescue operation is organised by Brighton Animal Aid & this time all 7500 hens were homed which was fantastic news.

You can see a 3 minute video of the adventure here

15th - Ebay now available through the Sanctuary Shop

Ebay have now joined the Sanctuary shop HERE joining around 150 other major retailers - vist their site via our shop page HERE and if you make a purchase the Sanctuary gets commission! - Costs you nothing more than if you visit that retailers website direct. Crazy, but true!

Ebay joining is great news as lots of people use this facility - Ebay will pay the Sanctuary commission out of the commission they earn from sellers. Just make sure you visit them via the ebay link in the sanctuary shop HERE & then just do what you normally do. - Please fel free to pass the shop details to anyone you know who buys on line as this is a great way to help the animals without spending anything extra.

14th - New Generator

A big thank you to Susie for getting us a brand new generator ! - one of the items on the wish list. This is fantastic & means we can use power tools down the fields & across the road when we need to shear the sheep ! - Thank you!!! - Wish List here

12th October - Pickles back with his Mum !

Picklet the Piglet is now back with his mum & family following his operation ! We have uploaded a video of him being released into his Mum's paddock - see the link at the top of the Pickles Page HERE

8th - October - Wish List

Updated !

6th - October - Pickles has Operation

Pickles the Piglet was dropped off at the vets this morning to have his operation. The vet phoned this afternoon to say that the operation had gone well and that Pickles was recovering. Martin picked him up this evening and it all seems to have gone well which is excellent news. Pickles will need to spend a week in a stable before being introduced back to his Mum & family. He wasn't keen to go back into the animal carrier at the vets & gave them the run around !

Thank you to everyone who has contributed towards the cost of this operation - we are all very grateful indeed !

I will get some more pictures of Pickles posted at the weekend & if you would still like to help towards the cost, please see the details on Pickles' page here

27th - Pickles Appeal Update

Since launching the appeal for Pickles' operation yesterday we have raised £250 which is half the cost of the operation ! - A big thank you to all who have helped. Please see Pickles' page here

26th - Painting project kicks off !

Many thanks to Ian & Cathryn who came over on Saturday to make a start on this project - see the projects page & look for the painting project to read what was started & to see pictures

25th September - Vet Visits

When the vets came last Summer to castrate the little boy pigs who had been born here - due to the fact that their Mums were already pregnant before arriving... there were three little Pigs who could not be castrated !

Tickles, Pickles & Giggles were too small to be operated on. They were all runts of the various litters & were far too tiny to withstand a castration operation - so they were left for another visit.

Almost a year on, they are finally big enough & so the vet came today to see to them.

Things didn't go to plan & we have been left with a big problem - see here to read more

19th September - Update

Today we met Charlotte & her mum Claire who came over to help with the filthy project! - see here for more details - click the update button when you get to the page. Unfortunately the 5000 ancient Egyptian slaves mentioned below phoned in sick - eheh

18th September - Filthy Project

Volunteers still required for Saturday's start on the "filthy" project - if anyone knows 5000 ancient egyptian slaves who have nothing planned, send em our way will you? eheh

17th September - Garden Party !

Southend Animal Aid are hosting a Garden party to help raise much needed funds for the Sanctuary. There will be acoustic music, therapies including reiki and massage, tarot readings, jewerly for sale, and food and refreshments (all vegan) will be available. Also facepainting for any little ones! - if you are on facebook please check out this link. If not, & you would like details please get in touch

16th - Bread unwrappers !

Thanks again to Ian, Cathryn & Jen who came over this evening to help unwrap the car load of bread Martin brought home from Sainsburies! you help was again much appreciated.

Project Update - on Saturday we have our first "Filthy" project volunteers who are coming over to help dig through the old muck heap to remove the string & plastic that are in there ! - if you want to join us - please get in touch - 11 am Start on Saturday 19th September !

Gloves a good idea ! - see the projects page for more details

I have also updated the wish list !

15th - Poppy the Dog

We have two dogs called Poppy ! - the most recent one is not on the Dogs page yet, but Fiona took her in June (see 25th June entry below). Unfortunately despite being on daily medication Poppy suffers from bouts of epilepsy every 3 weeks or so. Last night was one of her 'fitting' nights which means from about midnight to 4 or 5 am she has a 3 minute fit every 30 minutes or so. It is terrible to see, but nothing you can do whilst she is trashing about. This was the reason she was going to be put to sleep, but between these episodes, she is a very happy & normal dog - we just have to manage with the eposides as they occur - it does mean no sleep that night though - which is difficult to deal with.

14th September - Bread

Thank you to Ian & Jen who came over last night to unwrap the daily car load of bread from Sainsbury ! - your help was very much appreciated at this difficult time.

A music magazine called "Classic Rock Presents PROG" is due out on 30th September and is one of those magazines that has a FREE CD with it. Martin's band 'Yak' are on the CD with the title track of the album they released called "Journey of the Yak" in November 2008.

Every Yak album sold raises money for the animals here & so far 520 copies have been sold worldwide. The magazine will be available from WH Smith & places like that & hopefully will encourage a few more album sales once people have heard it. The mag has a circulation of around 35,000.

More news will follow on Martin's Yak website here in due course

In other news - Percy the Pig has adopted a piglet who is called Little Percy. He moved in with Percy & CT last weekend ! - more news on this story soon (+ pics)

13th September - Disaster

Fiona has broken two bones in her foot. She has no idea how it happened, but yesterday evening her foot was painful to put to the floor. This morning it was swollen & bruised and she was in considerable pain. Her Mum took her to Broomfield Hospital where the X Ray confirmed that there were 2 broken bones. To say Fiona is devastated is an understatement as she was in full training for an end of year marathon. Now she is on crutches & having to cope by hopping about. Great! (not). The Hospital said she must have complete rest (well not actually the hospital, but rather the Dr she saw..) Unfortunately, the word rest is not in Fiona's vocabulary - how can it be with 400 animals to care for!

12th September - Project work

This weekends work party consisted of Ian & his daughter Cathryn (who you can see in the Dog walk video here).

Ian & Cathryn were working in the Pigs fields clearing the vegetation that grows round the boundary as when it touches the electric fence cable, it shorts the battery out, so it is important to ensure that the long grass & blackberries growing round the edge are trimmed away - well OK long grass trimmed away & blackberries...eaten eheh

Thanks guys for your help today - much appreciated - especially Cathryn (12) who donated her pocket money to buy a sack of feed for the animals.

If you want to help with any of the projects listed on the Projects page, please get in touch

11th September - Feed Appeal

Now stands at £1540. Thank you to all who have helped raise this amount towards the £8500 we owe. If you can help, please use the PayPal button above or contact us by e mail if you want to send a cheque. There is still a long way to go !

10th September - Simba

Simba the Dog, is an elderly gentleman who arrived a few weeks ago. He was not very well at all on arrival and was not able to stand for very long. Unfortunately also he is entire (not castrated) & so this can be difficult with the other male dogs - not a problem for the females as Simba is past worrying about that sort of thing !

Simba has however made wonderful progress and is able now to spend hours exploring the garden & wanders quite a long way (supervised). We have made him a pen area on the lawn out of sheep hurdles, with a bed, & when he is tired of exploring, he goes there to lay down.  Fortunately with the weather having been nice these past few weeks he has been able to spend all day outside & at night he fits in with the elderly gang & sleeps on the floor (on a cushion) in the bedroom. I have taken some pictures of him which you can see here

6th September

The feed appeal has raised just under £1500 so far towards the £8500 backlog we owe for feed. Thank you to all who have helped raise these funds it really is very much appreciated. We still need to find £7000 as well as of course the on-going monthly feed costs & we remain about £1800 short each month of the £5300 we need to feed everyone.

Additionally we have a number of projects which need to be done ahead of the Winter as per the projects page & we need to raise several thousand pounds for these too, so all in all we still have some way to go before we can see the light.

We have had a new area built for some of the ponies to winter out in - this involved putting in a new concrete base and moving one of the mobile field shelters - as soon as this project is complete I will post the pictures (cost £1700)

This week we also managed to get 2 more Loch Lomond Pig families moved out into paddock areas - we have had the workmen in to prepare the areas and the Pigs moved across on Friday - see pics here. This is work detailed on the Pigs project page & although we haven't had funding we have had to borrow the money as this project was really important to achieve ahead of the Winter as we need the stables for the older horses.

The critical aim remains to substantially increase the number of members the Sanctuary has from 200 to nearer 500 if we are to have a future. The regular monthly support is absolutely vital to help us with the feed costs. Sadly we have seen overall membership decline over the past few months as people feel the pinch of the economy, of course we cannot stop feeding the animals, so if you do know anyone who might want to help through sponsorship of a rescue, please do ask them to have a look at the website. Please remember that this is not a business - every penny recieved goes towards the feed bills or the project costs (if specified), not one penny is deducted to pay salaries, rent, expenses or anything else.

Thank you to all our supporters, we could not do this without you.

27th August - New Video for Feed Appeal

As you may know if you are on the Tower Hill Sanctuary Group on Facebook we have launched an appeal to try & raise funds to cover our overdue feed account as we owe over £8500 - clearly this is on top of finding the money for the monthly feed bills on an ongoing basis - as well as vets fees & funds for the projects listed on the projects page.

All in all we are in a very difficult spot as unless we can raise the funds and/or increase membership of the Sanctuary, the future is not looking good for the gang.

Since the Facebook appeal was launched 2 days ago the Sanctuary has received £260 in donations towards the feed costs which is fabulous news, Plus a new member has joined to support the ongoing costs which is also brilliant news.

To show people a little more about the work Fiona does with the animals here I have created a new video which is some 9 minutes long ! It's a short film really ! - I have set it to music too & it shows many of the rescued animals at the Sanctuary as well as showing people the work that Fiona does herself directly with the Sanctuary i.e. the daily care of of 400 rescues with no staff Plus the incredible athletic achievements Fiona has realised.

It took several attempts to load to Youtube as the file was 216meg ! - I can't currently persuade Facebook to load it though !

Please do have a look, and watch it in 'full screen' mode. (button in bottom right of video image screen - 2nd from the extreme right)

The soundtrack is by me & is being sold to raise funds for the animals - Over 500 CD's sold so far worldwide - details at the end of the video

Here it is

9th August - Dog Walk

The first fundraising Dog Walk of 2009 was held today & 3 people came along to help walk the rescued Dogs. Ian & his two daughters - Jen & Cathryn - took Poppy, Tess, Buddy & Looby Loo out for about an hour and a half - shorter than usual as it was very hot.

A short video clip is here (music to be added...)

Everyone had a great time and Ian provided the entertainment by performing a most spectacular 'trip' over a root & very nearly but not quite managing to stay upright for about 10 seconds as he tumbled along the path, eventually crashing spectacularly into some brambles ! He never let go of Buddy throughout the entire "trip" proving his total dedication to the safety of his 4 legged friend. A few scratches to Ian's elbow were sustained but otherwise we expect him to make a full recovery !

Baked potatoes were served on our return together with lashings of orange juice !

Whilst we were out I took a call from a near neighbor who had "acquired" a young black & white Cat. Wondering whether it was one of ours or a stray he asked if we could help. So after the walk was over we all went up to the house with a cat basket and caught the little fellow who was quite tame, but a little nervous. He was not one of our Cats, but we took him and have put him in a feral pen. We will take him to the vet to be scanned for a chip this week & if he has no chip, we will ensure he/she is neutered and then integrate him with the Sanctuary gang.

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August -December  2009
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