29th June - Royal Garden Party

Here is Fiona's report on the event !

26th June - A hot weekend

Its been another busy one ! with added sheep shearing - see HERE for pictures of the animals this weekend !

22nd June - Slimmers World Update

As regular readers will recall, Percy Bear went with me to Slimmers World in Burnham on Crouch back in March to do a presentation to the group about Fiona's work (see 24th March entry below). The group then embarked on a 12 week "slimathon" and tried to get as many people as possible to sponsor their weight loss on a £ per pound basis.

Tonight, fearing a 2nd weigh in, Percy was unable to attend, & so I went to meet Linda the group leader to collect the donation & also some food and blankets that had been donated.

I have updated the slimathon page at this link HERE

21st June - Animal Books !

We have been given two very good books by Vernon Coleman to sell to raise funds for the animals - see the special page we have set up here

20th June - Sanctuary Videos

It was highlighted to us recently that not everyone is aware of the sanctuary account on youtube where over 50 different Sanctuary videos are hosted - so I have set up a page on this website where I have embedded a few of them

See the page here

The youtube account page is here

4th June - Fiona wins Vegan Achievement Award !

Thank you to all who voted for Fiona in the Bristol VegFest Awards last weekend.

There were 11 different categories, but only 1 "people" category, all the others were for peoples favourite product/shop/venue etc etc - Fiona attracted 26.7% of the votes !

Here is a link to the results page at Bristol VegFest

The Achievement Award is the 4th one down

Fiona said "Congratulations to everyone nominated in the VegFestUK 2011 Awards. It is a great honour to win the Vegan Achievement category and I am very proud of everyone connected with the festival and for all the wonderful work it does in advertising our cruelty free lifestyle and encouraging others to follow it. The animals do have a lot of 'enemies' out there but they also have a great set of friends too!"

If you would like to buy Fiona a congratulatory coffee - see this link here !

31st May - Papers Shun Buglet !

Despite writing to all the local Devon newspapers & contacting all the local radio stations not one replied & not one turned up to do an article about Buglet & Chris' efforts ! - I wrote to them all as well as those from Evolve Campaigns ! - Most of the papers I think went with stories along the lines of "local man receives letter" and other more gripping local news...

Fiona has been working so very hard recently & completed her last long run last Sunday ahead of her next race in Finland on 18th June. Sundays run was some 28 & a half miles - an "over distance" run !! which she completed in 3 hours

It has at long last rained & we hope that the grass may now start to grow !!

29th May - Bank Holiday Fund Raisers !

Not one, but two awesome fund raisers for the animals have been going down this Bank Holiday weekend !

Firstly we would like to thank Jen Thomas and her amazing support gang (Steve, Cherry, Grotty & Mark & others) for putting on the Sunday Funday all day gig at the Railway Hotel in Southend-on-Sea today. Loads of local & talented bands - Big Dogg, Trash Munroe & Herida to name a few - put on an amazing all day show from 3:00 to 11:30 pm - and around £800 was raised for the Sanctuary which is fantastic news !

I will set up a page with images and videos of the event as soon as I am able

Additionally it was "Buglet time" down in Exmouth !! - where 14 year old Chris, the youth contact for Evolve Campaigns, rollerbladed 4 miles along the Esplanade at Exmouth dressed as Buglet the Chicken ! - Chris has raised around £1000 for the Sanctuary which is tremendous news.

These two events will pay for the feed & hay costs of the Sanctuary for 2 weeks, which is a significant help in these difficult times.

I have updated the BUGET page with Chris' video of his event ! - See the page HERE

26th May - Update

We have been very very busy these past few weeks, particularly so as Fiona has been really pushing her training up a notch (if that's feasible) as she is very keen to do well at the marathon she hopes to do in Finland next month. Fiona has been topping 100 mile weeks, which on top of everything else has left her in a very exhausted state - as I am sure you can imagine.

Yesterday whilst out training a large Lexus forced her off the road & into a ditch where she ripped her "skins" top. Fiona was not badly hurt, but a replacement top is not cheap.

A few weeks back Fiona found an elderly Staffie tied to the gate ! - As he was not castrated, we had a job keeping him overnight as we just don't have kennels we can utalise for this sort of thing - all the dogs live in a group in the house & a non castrated male could cause a fight, despite his age & of course there are other considerations ! - Afterall, breeding dogs is not on the agenda here !

Kosmo, as we called him, stayed in the bathroom that night & went to the vet in the morning where despite being in poor condition, they were able to successfully sedate him & perform the necessary operation. Kosmo is doing well and has settled in. Thankfully he is not at all assertive & just wants to curl up & sleep most of the time ! Pictures to follow.

Sheep Shearing looms ! - & yes the generator wouldn't start. Thankfully our local repair man has fixed it & serviced it (£35) & so I will be ready to tackle that job any weekend soon (when the weather improves again !)

We are also in the middle of erecting a very large Peacock run which will enable the birds to be outdoors for longer without the danger of them wandering off. Its 8 meters by 4 meters & over 3 meters high, so plenty of room for them to fly about. Not that they actually fly a lot, they just like to be in the sun to do their displays ! - I'll get some pictures of the structure as soon as poss.

This weekend it is the VegFest in Bristol & there are VegFest Awards ! - Fiona was nominated in the Vegan Achievement Category & there is still time to vote for her by going to this link here

When you get there, the Achievement Category is the 4th one down & Fiona is the 2nd name in the list! There is no need to vote in all the categories - unless you want to of course !

Also this weekend in Southend on Sunday it is the Funday Sunday all day Charity Gig at the Railway Hotel ! (from 3pm to Midnight). Lots of local bands & other entertainments all put on in aid of the Sanctuary !!! - Here is a facebook link to the event page. We hope to use the donations from this event to fund the Peacock run.

Lastly, don't forget Buglet !! (see26th April entry below)

28th April - For the price of a Coffee


26th April - Buglet the Chicken raises funds !

Chris, 14, is the youth contact for EVOLVE campaigns and this year Chris will become non other than "Buglet the Chicken" as he rollerblades along the sea front at Exmouth to raise funds to help save the Sanctuary from crippling feed costs

See HERE for more details and to see the pictures of the amazing transmogrification !

Direct Chip-IN Link is HERE

18th April - Lily Update

See here for the latest Lily pictures - see how much weight she has gained in just 2 months !

15th April - Fiona smuggles in another Horse !

Genie is a coloured horse who had no where to go & Fiona agreed to take her in and put her at the other yard we rent up the road in Tillingham ! Fiona also has taken in another elderly Mastiff cross called Gertie !

Here are some pictures of Genie

14th April - Talk in Witham

About 6 months ago we were asked if we would do a presentation about the Sanctuary to a group of ladies who meet regularly at Rickstones Church in Witham ! - How time flies as the date booked was today, the 14th.

I drove to the church from work & met Percy (at Junction 17 of the A12) who was thumbing a lift from the Sanctuary, as he was keen to attend - as he always does for these events

See the pictures & more details HERE

If you belong to a group & would like us to do a presentation at one of your meetings and you meet within striking distance of the Sanctuary (or Brentwood where I work) then don't hesitate to ask !

12th April - Fiona wins another Half Marathon !

Instead of her usual long Sunday run, Fiona entered the Southminster Half last weekend and met a lot of very nice local people. The course was running on a single track road around the dengie flats for the most part, but there were a few miles of offroad work which didn't suit Fiona's knee as with her replacement, she can only really run on a flat surface as without a kneecap, she has very little - if any - sideways movement control.

The course crossed the railway line just past Burnham-on-Crouch & guess what? - yes a train was coming when Fiona reached it, so she had to wait !

The event was in aid of the Lennox Cancer fund & there were about 50 entries. The organisers are keen to grow the event & have asked Fiona to help them to expand the race for next year.

In other news, Fiona admitted to me last night that she has smuggled in another rescued horse up at the Tillingham yard. She is an older pony who had no where to go & who was facing a grim future. I will get some more details & pictures as soon as possible

7th April - By Royal Command

Fiona has been invited to attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 29th June in respect of her many awesome achievements !

We think this is a fantastic opportunity for Fiona to promote her work to a "mainstream" audience as we rely completely on word of mouth to spread the word on Fiona's work as we just don't have the funds available to advertise/market the Sanctuary.

An invite to the Palace is a real honour and something that money cannot buy.

Percy Bear is hoping to accompany Fiona as her guest

3rd April - Jemimah Update

Jemimah was saved about 2 years ago & she is a staffie type who had been "used" as a breeding machine & also for baiting the fighting dogs by the pleasant people who had her. She had some of her teeth removed so that she couldn't do too much damage to the prize fighting dogs & she was also missing a tongue - bitten out in a fight.

Jemimah was quite wild as you can probably imagine & it has taken a considerable effort to get her well, tamed & integrated with the main dog gang with whom she now lives. She put no weight on at all in the first 6 months, but as you can see in the photo at the link below she is looking like a different Dog now !

We just found a picture of her on the day she arrived, & so I have made a before & after shot which you can see HERE

1st April - Poppy the Staffie

It is with much regret that I must report that Poppy the epileptic staffie passed away this morning. We are all very sad here. Poppy was rescued from the needle about 2 years ago and suffered with epilepsy. There was no cure, but her "fits" were held mostly in abeyance by the twice daily dose of Epiphen tablets.

These tablets meant that Poppy only had a day of fitting once every 8 to 10 weeks and the rest of the time she was 100% normal. When she had her night of fitting - it seemed to be always about 2-3 am, we had to be with her & make sure that the other dogs didn't go for here, as they don't understand what was happening - for this reason she always slept with me and just a few others, so I could "manage" the problem when it occurred. Normally there would only be one day of fitting, but this week it happened on 3 consecutive nights & this morning again it happened & she had a seizure & just passed away. I can only guess that it induced heart failure.

Fiona is very upset as you can imagine - we all are. You can see Poppy in the Fiona & the rescued animals video - she is the staffie in the black & white section where you first get to see the dogs, she is the one the camera freezes on at the end of the sequence. Immortalised in this video, we will never forget her.

In other news, Fiona was asked by Wallace Kennels to take in another large dog who had been there a year & was facing the needle. I picked her up from the vets on my way home from work tonight. She is a Mastiff cross & called Gerty. I will post the pictures and a short video of me collecting her at the vets over the weekend.

She was spayed today and is sleeping alone in the bathroom tonight where she will be based until the wound heals then we will introduce her to the oldies gang.

Fiona was told she was 3 years old & we though she would make a friend for Boris the Mastiff whom we also took from Wallace Kennels a few months ago. Boris is very young & currently living separately from the others as he is very playful, strong & sends me flying, so probably not good for our elder residents ! So the idea was that Gerty (who they said he would remember from Wallace Kennels) would be a good companion. However looking at her I would say she is about 8 - i.e. an old lady Mastiff, so not a good match for Boris afterall !

Plan B is to introduce Lily to Boris when she is up to strength as she is a youngster too & very very very playful !

Vids to follow !

And finally I was savaged by a Boar this morning ! - Yes a Boar ! - One of the Loch Lomond boys, well 2 actually, had made a hole in their fence & one in particular would not go back. On a serious point, an entire male boar pig is a seriously dangerous animal & this one does not - unlike all the other Pigs we look after - have a nice nature. I avoided his first attack by feigning a dive to the right in a move I recalled from a fight scene in Gladiator, but he caught me off guard with his 2nd lunge as he sunk his teeth into my right elbow - thankfully letting go quite quickly as clearly I can still type - however puncturing the skin through my jumper & overalls. This was not exactly what I had had in mind for a Friday morning!

The bite was not that piercing, but like a horse bite it was like a vice - a crushing bite that causes soft tissue damage & brusing and clearly broken bones if you are unlucky.

I managed to get him to go back in his paddock - with the aid of some cake and some choice expletives - which I don't think he understood!

Then I rewired their electric fencing which had been running on a battery unit into the main "Mains" unit which will be more secure. I had been meaning to do this for a while - if only there were more hours in the day...

I called the Doctors to check whether I was still up to date with my tetanus jabs. Spoke to the receptionist & asked the question. She replied to say "well it depends when you last had one, can you remember when that was?" - Urrmm - is it me?

Transpired eventually that I am up to date...

24th March - Percy Bear at Slimmers World

Percy Bear was recently invited along to do a talk about the work that Fiona does with her animals at a meeting of the Burnham on Crouch 'Slimming World' group. After the weigh-in however, during which Percy managed to break the scales, he went a bit shy, so Martin had to deliver the presentation slide show instead !

The Burnham group are doing a special "slimathon" in aid of the Sanctuary which is fantastic news as members are asking people to sponsor them a £ a Pound !

See Percy at the meeting HERE

23rd March - The Valley of Heaven & Hell

A new book by Sanctuary supporter Susie Kelly is just out ! - Susie has kindly pledged a % of the books earnings for the animals at the Sanctury ! - You can see details of the book at this link here which is available as a pdf download as well as a whole range of other formats! - Thanks Susie !!

15th March - Forever 21

Forever 21 is a new book just out by Kathy Divine - from her website...

"Apart from the cool factor, Forever 21 by Kathy Divine is an inspirational and uplifting guide that outlines key principles for turning back the clock and regaining your health, happiness and carefree spirit. Sick of living a stressful existence? When you are ready to say “enough is enough”, let the Forever 21 Principles guide your life to a more peaceful and happy place"

There are 4 pages in the book where Kathy interviews Fiona about her lifestyle choices and her awesome atheletic achievements !

The link to Kathy's site is HERE

14th March - Gulp

The bill for the muck removal & spreading just came in - £6500 ! - See here for details if you missed the story

8th March - Certificates for Fiona !

Fiona received two certificates in the post yesterday from Vegan Runners - Fiona was the fastest member of Vegan Runners - both MALE & Female over both the Half Marathon AND the Marathon in 2010 - How amazing is that?

See the certificates HERE

She also received a letter from Vegan Runners honoring her results and her promotion of the club and it's aim to promote Veganism through her spectacular results - together with a voucher for Holland & Barratt !

5th March - A Mucky Business

See here to read about a significant project we have just completed at the Sanctuary

27th February £100 for a Bale of Hay

Hay prices continue to rise, but can we seriously be expected to pay £100 for a single Bale?

Listen in astonishment to Percy Bear as he narrates the foreward in this shocking new video expose - HERE

13th February - Dogs

The Dogs Page has been updated with a few more pictures of the "faces" of the dogs here at the Sanctuary. Not everyone is there yet, but we're getting there !

As you may know, all the dogs live with us in the house & so it is essential that their diet is consistent, as if you keep changing the feed, it can lead to upset tummys & you know what that can lead to - & with this many dogs walking about - well I am sure you can imagine!

So as we buy a lot of animal food, we are able to get a good discount & have sourced a type that all the dogs enjoy and do well on & a 17KG sack is £7.74. We use a sack of this a day !

So we thought we would introduce a new membership category - the Daily Dog Feeder category whereby if you join the Sanctuary & donate £7.74 a month, you will be feeding ALL the dogs shown on the Dogs page for a day of that month !!

See HERE for the page. There is also a special PayPal button that will set up a £7.74 monthly donation should you wish to use that method of donating

Thank you ! - See HERE

4th Feb - Lily saved from the needle

Lily the dog had been kept in a cupboard and had been starved. She came into the vet that Suzanne uses & they suggested putting her to sleep. Suzanne asked Fiona if she would help

It would have been very easy to turn a blind eye & say 'no we are full' - particularly having lost so many supporters over the past six months, but Fiona will never give up trying - see Lily HERE

3rd Feb - New Dog Pics


2nd February - Update

In the past few weeks we have been asked to take in not one, but three more staffie's for whom time had run out at the various pounds. First of all there was Charlotte a three legged dog who had been run over in Hackney in early December. Found by a passer by, Charlotte had been operated on to remove the crushed leg and was awaiting homing. Unfortunately due to her disfigurement no home was forthcoming & so her prospects were looking grim.

Fiona was asked to take her & I picked her up from a nearby vet where she had been dropped off. She has teamed up with Hector (see below) who has invited her to stay in his house! (the front bedroom). We were told she would not be very mobile & certainly would not be able to climb stairs... however she jumps on the bed & scoots about like she had an "extra" leg let alone one 'less' leg ! - A real sweetie. Photo's to be added soon.

Then last Friday Fiona was asked to put out a Facebook appeal to ask for help for Suzanne who rescues dogs & whom we have helped previously. Suzanne has so many dogs at kennels & had another one to save but the kennels were refusing to take any more from her unless she homed some of the ones she had - hence the appeal...

...So on Saturday, Fiona had to drive to the kennels to take one of the dogs in here, to free up a space for the other dog Suzanne needed to get in there as his time was up. So Ivy the staffie found herself at the Sanctuary! Ivy has settled in very well with the oldies gang & is very quiet.

On Monday, another phone call & another dog dropped of at the building where I work for me to bring home. This dog is called Dusty & we had heard about her a few days earlier - again via Suzanne. Dusty however had had an operation & the vet had suggested that she would be too ill to travel & was not expected to survive. However she seemed to be fine when I collected her although as scared as hell. She cried non stop on the way home & the first evening she was very unsure & quite vocal ! - Then once we settled down for the night she went to sleep & has been very quiet all day - she has now settled in with the oldies gang and is sleeping by my foot as I type this with 11 other sleeping dogs in Fiona's room !
We will get pictures of these new chaps as soon as we can and get them posted on here.

So thats about 39 rescued dogs living with us in the house - plus all the hundreds of animals outside !

Charlotte & Ivy are both brindle & underweight. Dusty is Red with white patches & also underweight.

If you would like to sponsor one of these new doggies please do get in touch ! - Thanks

16th January - Winter Arrangements

At the new rented field we have 6 horses and all the Ewes. Whilst they have permanent access to three shelters at the edge of the field, we needed to get them off the grass so it can be rested until Spring as unless we do, there will be no new grass ! - This time of year the fields will get very wet & so with all the animals running about they can quickly become a mud bath - which pretty much ruins the next seasons grass crop ! - So we have rented a barn at the site - a very large one - and today we rounded up all the horses & sheep and led them to their Winter quarters !

The Horses were very good, and some of the sheep followed them as we led them across the yard to the barn. There were however a few sheep who remained "suspicious" as to what we were doing & of course catching them was very time consuming! - Eventually however we got them in & everyone is as snug as a bug in a large barn !

See them HERE

8th January - Donation at Gladwells

Gladwells is one of the feed merchants we use to get our animal feed in bulk from and as you may be aware they have the facility to take credit card payments (which we cannot do directly) so that anyone from anywhere who has a credit or debit card can make a donation onto the Sanctuary feed account!

In the past, they would always ring us to let us know a credit had been made & importantly they would tell us who it was so we could thank them. Unfortunately they don't seem to be doing this anymore as we have just had a statement from them which shows that someone made a generous donation on 17th December - for which we are very grateful indeed - there is however no record of who it was - so we can't thank them personally which is a little frustrating to say the least.

So if this was you Thank You Very Much Indeed ! XXX

Gladwells can be contacted by phone at:

Gladwells Feed Merchants - 01473 730246

All you need to say is that you wish to place a credit on the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary Account which is in the name on their system of  Miss F Oakes - account no OAKES0 (oakes zero) - according to the statement received today !

7th January - Fiona run over ...again

Fiona was knocked down today whilst running up St. Lawrence hill - a particularly steep hill that Fiona uses for "hill work" by running up at full speed & jogging back down some 20 times. I have trouble walking up it once.

Whilst there is room for a car & a pedestrian, the retard behind the wheel of a blue car chose instead to knock poor Fiona over & whilst she was on the floor they drove off. Fiona is all bruised down one side & thinks she has a broken toe where the wheel went over her foot.

She didn't get the number or make of car as she was too busy being run over at the time.

So on top of yesterday's post a great start to the year all round!

6th January - Please Read

2nd January - Hay Delivery

Today was another busy one as on top of the usual jobs, we had 5 big bales of haylage delivered on a Telescopier (Enormous tractor with a 9 meter extendable front loader!) plus 5 half tonne bales of straw. Some for the Pigs across the road for extra bedding and some to spread out to make a bed area for the horses in the main school. Spreading a large bale of straw by hand is certainly hot work! & spreading three was a challenge !

Fiona has also managed to fit in an 18 mile training run and Andy Gower spend the whole day continuing his work to re-wire the stables ! - Today Andy was working on the outside lights & we now have some up & running - first time we have had light outside for a good few years !

The re-wiring has been a massive undertaking and Andy has done a fantastic job. We would be very happy to recommend him to anyone reading this who is looking for an electrician. Please get in touch if you are looking and we will put you in touch with Andy.

Thinking ahead to the Summer ! we are starting to work out what projects we need to focus on in order to get the planning done as early as possible. One of the key projects that failed to get off the ground last year was the stable repairs. We do need to do some serious re-building work to stabalise the main stable block building, as in most stables, the block work around the side & particularly the back wall of the stables has collapsed & the walls are "pushing out".

The plan will be to re-build the block walls (only 1 block high) with wider blocks as the original ones are too thin, and where a horse kicks, it cracks the seal the floor & over it goes. Additionally we will need to sink a number of RSJ's at certain points & use these to support some of the main joists to further strengthen the structure.

So - if anyone reading has any contacts in the trade & may be able to help either physically or with materials, please do get in touch - we would love to hear from you !

1st January - Happy New Year!

2010 was a tough year for the Sanctuary & we fully expect 2011 to be tougher still. So please do bear us in mind if you would like to help through becoming a member or by sending an ad hoc donation!

Please see the link HERE on how to help.

You can sponsor any of the rescues and there is no minimum amount ! 100% of your donation goes towards the feed costs. Thank you.

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Read all the New from previous years

News Jan - June 2011
How to Join & how to Help