30th June - Charity Problems
Thank you to everyone who has sent their best wishes for Charity today. It has been a very traumatic and worrying day and, to be honest, the outlook has not looked good for much of the time. Charity was down in her box this morning when we found her at frist light. Although tempting to immediately try and get her to her feet, we followed Erik, the vet's, advice from his last visit and let her ...stay down for a good few hours if she wanted to, in order that she might have a good rest.
Obviously, during this time she had to be supervised constantly and offered water by syringe whenever she required it. We also administered her Bute so that if she were in any pain, it would be numbed. Charity did try, very bravely, to get to her feet several times during this period but she just did not, even with our assistance, quite have the strength. As the hours passed we knew the only option if she could not get up, would be to have the vet to put her to sleep. He has already said there is nothing more he can do for her in these situations than we we can do ourselves and at what point to call him was not going to be an easy decision to make. At around 12 noon Charity drifted off into a sleep and we went to the caravan in order to decide what to do leaving her in the capable hooves of Mini Max to watch over her. We sipped our drinks slowly and sadly desperately hoping and praying for a miracle. We finished our drinks and Martin went to fetch his mobile telephone but, after a few seconds, came running back and calling me to 'come quickly, come and see this'. Our beautiful Charity had not only bravely got to her feet but she had come down the stables looking for us and her friends, the other horses. She was weak and had a few cuts and bangs but they were just superficial and I treated them immediately.
Gradually, after a bucket of apples and carrots, she gathered her strength and just wanted to soak up the afternoon sun with her friends, who all came running up from the fields to greet her. Obviously, I could not let her out with them but Rupert’s yard and big shelter were available so I put her in there right next to the others. Well, I say I 'put her' but, to be honest 'she dragged me' would be a more accurate phrase. She was behaving like a youngster, prancing and neighing to the others. She has just come into her stable and is eating her bucket after having a lovely afternoon amongst her friends. I know that one day, possibly very soon, things won't have such a happy outcome but, for today at least, Charity is where she most wants to be - in her lovely warm, cosy stable munching on her favourite foods without a care in the world.
3rd June - Pepe arrives
Pepi is an elderly Staffie X. Unlike most others in the country, Pepi had nothing to celebrate this weekend. He has been lingering in a Northern Dog Pound and was due to be PTS yesterday. Fortunately though for Pepi, Fiona does not spend her time celebrating either. She spends it working and trying to help animals and is always contactable and willing to listen when she is asked to help - even during the Diamond Jubilee weekend! When Fiona was told about Pepi she agreed to help him. A lift was arranged for Pepi part of the way to the Sanctuary and Fiona drove the rest of the way to meet him and bring him 'home' this morning. Pepi is old, he is confused and frightened. He was thrown out of his last home, he needs veterinary attention for his teeth and a growth on his tail but, most importantly, now he has hope. Hope because Fiona has, yet again, pushed herself to the limit to help him - as she has hundreds of others like him over the years. Please consider helping Fiona to continue caring in this way as times are becoming very, very difficult and, ultimately, it is animals like Pepi who will have to pay the price. See Pepe HERE
31st May - Fiona wins Best Vegan Athlete Award at Bristol VegFest !
Fiona was nominated for this award back in March & was up against some stiff competetion.
All the voting was done on line & Fiona came first with 28.5% of the vote. In 2nd place was Martina Navratilova & in 3rd place Carl Lewis.
This is a fantastic achivement & we are all very proud of Fiona. We hope it helps spread the word about all Fiona does her animals and animals everywhere through her cruelty free lifestyle.
30th May - Fiona Update !
During the past few weeks I have allowed myself a little 'down time' from running in order that my body could repair itself after the thrashing I gave it in the Marathons des Sables. That's not to say I haven't been running at all, just doing a bit less which has afforded me time for other things. Obviously I have been very keen to put this little bit of 'spare' time to very good use for the animals and one of the ways I have been able to do this is to take up some of the invitations I have had to speak at Vegan Festivals and talk about the Sanctuary, my running, my Fire Fighting, what I do in Russia and the MdS. I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to combine these trips with other things such as visiting supporters who are not able to come and see the Sanctuary and meet the animals themselves. I would like to thank the very kind supporter who has offered to assist in the cost of me getting to these events as he believes telling the world about what I do is very important to the Vegan cause in the hope it might convince others to consider the lifestyle themselves. Unfortunately, all my visits have had to be real 'flying' ones though as Martin used all his holidays from work for me to be able to compete in MdS so we are very restricted with how long I can be away. Very hectic!
VegFest - Tampere, Finland
I was very honoured to be invited to attend VegFest in Tampere in Finland and very excited to be able to go along and meet the very dedicated bunch of young volunteers who are so committed to promoting animal rights and welfare issues as well as veganism in their own country. The VegFest was the third of its kind in Tampere and it is growing every year. I stepped off the train from Helsinki and was immediately greeted by a very friendly young lady who was handing leaflets out to the general public inviting them to go along and have a look at what was going on. I explained this was the reason I was there and she was most pleased!
The Festival was held in the main square in Tampere and, although the weather had been cold the previous day, the weather was lovely. Apparently it was the first really warm day of the year and hopefully the start of the very short Finnish summer. As I wandered around the stalls - probably 30 in total - I was so moved by the passion and interest of the young people there. Sari, the organiser, had been working on it for a whole year and you could certainly tell. There were several tents for speakers with the main one having a large stage and being used as a dining hall too. Obviously it was quite difficult to give a long speech as I had nothing really prepared as it was a last minute decision (mainly due to our own lack of finance, until the kind offer of help came) to attend and also the language barrier also had to be considered. Having said that, most of the bright young crowd spoke beautiful English and my talk obviously went down well as I received the following e-mail from one of the organisers after my talk.
Hello, just writing to you because I was touched by Fiona's speech at the VegFest event in Tampere, Finland. If you could forward this message to Fiona, I would greatly appreciate it. I am the guy who presented you onstage. The work you do is wonderful and I wish all the best for you in life. I myself have been vocal about animal rights in the media ( I have a show of my own on tv). I also produced and directed the video to my first solo music venture:. Who knows, maybe someday we could do some sort of a project together? I definately would like to visit the sanctuary someday if that's possible. All the best!
VegFest - Bristol
What can I say - HUGE! Just about ever possible vegan/vegan related/ethical/environment/animal issue covered you can imagine. It is now the biggest vegan festival in the world and you certainly can see that when you go. I have never been before so it was a real educational experience for me. It was absolutely great to see Peter on the Vegan Runners stall and to see how hard all the guys work to man these events and promote the Club. I have to confess that many times I do feel guilty that I cannot do more things like this but I truly am very tied up with my time and being away from the Sanctuary. I was very nervous about speaking as, believe it or not for those who do know me, I don't like talking about myself and what I do. For sure, I can natter on but not about myself - it just isn't me. What I do is what I do and I don't actually think too much about it, I just get on and do it. Sometimes it is very difficult for me to explain as my lifestyle seems completely natural to me and I find it hard to understand why others don't follow it too. I became more and more nervous as the 'hour' approached (quite literally as I was billed to speak for an hour) and I was becoming more and more worried as to how I was going to fill the time. I glanced at my material and thought 'a cosy 5 minutes stuff here and then I am paddling my own canoe' so to speak!
Peter Simpson from Vegan Runners very kindly agreed to introduce me to the audience (and a big 'thank you very much' to the many friendly faces who turned up to watch) and then I was on my own and it went remarkably well. So well, in fact, that after about an hour and five minutes a very diplomatic Amanda from the Vegan Society had to move us on as they had the following slot booked. Even then, people were queuing to ask questions or get advice, which really surprised me. I would like to say though that I am always very happy to help anyone with any questions they might have. Not just relating to me but to them. One lady asked about my knee injury as hers was not progressing so well, another asked for advice on training, another on shoes etc. I cannot say my advice will always suit them but I am always more than happy to share anything I have learned along the way and will benefit anyone else.
I was sorry we had to leave so early in the end but we were on restricted train tickets to keep the costs as low as possible so my time in Bristol was not forgotten. Since arriving home I have had nothing but positive feedback from people all actively encouraging me to get out there more and speak to people - something I never do as I am always with the animals or training to actually do the things I do.
One very respected member of the Vegan world did send me the following in a mail for which I am truly flattered coming from someone held in such high esteem himself! 'Thanks again for your talk. I think it was probably the most inspirational thing I've heard in my life so far.'
I have to say that, if people are interested in listening to what I have to say and about what I have done I do feel it a moral obligation to try and do more of this sort of thing as it might just benefit the animals more than I initially thought.
27th May - Bristol Veg Fest
Fiona was nominated in the best Vegan Athlete category at the Bristol Veg Festival and she decided to go down to attend the festival to help promote the sanctuary and the vegan cause. Fiona was offerred a slot on Sunday to do a talk & at 1pm she delivered a speech to a small crowd of folk who were very interested - captivated - by what she had to say !
Fiona will write a report up about the event which I will publish here as soon as possible.
17th April - Fiona's Race Report - HERE
14th April - Fiona finishes the Marathon des Sables !
The hardest footrace on the planet left many fine athletes broken & in tatters, many abandoning the race at various points along it, but today Fiona finished the final stage with Percy Bear & Cederic Snowman in one piece ! Hurray
The first lifelong Vegan female athlete to complete this event ! - see update HERE 10th April - Fiona Update HERE
3rd April - 2 Days to go !
Just 2 days to go before Fiona & Percy leave for their epic challenge ! - see new Pictures at the page HERE - unfortunately we had a bad "do" with Charity our eldest Equine resident which resulted in the last of the new pictures on the above link - full story under the picture Also see HERE for a new video of the Horses running & rolling in the fields in yesterdays sunshine !
22nd March - New Dog ! & MdS Update
On Wednesday morning I said to Fiona that I would get the yard scraped down before I went to work so that she could have a tiny bit more rest indoors - as she is very tired from all the work & all the training. Whilst indoors the phone went and it was someone trying to rehome an elderly dog who is in kennels but deteriorating rapidly - as some do in that sort of environment.
Fiona agreed to help after establishing that all other avenues had been explored. She then made a few calls to see if someone would fetch the little girl from where she was, but everyone was too busy, so Fiona is having to go today to get her. I will update the site with pictures when she is here.
It is not long to go now until - all being well - Fiona leaves to compete in the toughest foot race in the world in a desperate attempt to see if she can generate the kind of interest in the animal sanctuary that it needs to continue caring for so many unwanted animals - as well as the wider issues of welfare & a cruelty free & environmentally friendly lifestyle.
If you are able to help with the fund raising, please visit the link here to sponsor Fiona ! Don't forget that you can still sponsor a rescue at the sanctuary at this link & get a letter from your new friend & a photo ! - see the adoptions link here.
4th March - Update !
After the lull of the past weeks weather, Winter returned in anger today. It hasn't stopped raining & there is snow in the rain too! - been a bad few weeks for huge bills as we still have the Jan hay bill to pay £1230 & February's has now arrived at some £1700 - although this includes £400 to take 2 months worth of muck away - some 5 big lorry loads. That was done last weekend. Plus a £700 repair & service on the Sanctuary hay van and last weeks ordinary feed (sacks etc) topped £1000. Its frightening how quickly the debts can mount.
All the gang are well and tucked up in bed as I type. Tzar the horse has been ill recently, but is recovered now & interested again in his food bucket which is always a good sign !
The feed appeal is still running as per the entry below & thank you to all who have contributed ! If you didn't see this, please check out the link below
A new "Fundraising for Tower Hill Stables" page has been set up by supporters on Facebook & a fund raising auction is being organised - check it out HERE
There are 75 "Likes" so far. The Auction will be on 7th April !
If you are on our mailing list you should have recieved an e mail that went out this weekend. If you would like to be on the email list, please get in touch using the e mail button above. The recent cold snap has seen us use a lot more food in order to keep the animals warm ! - We have set up a special page at this link HERE where you can buy a specific item to help with the feed bills, from a sack of carrots to a massive bale of hay ! - Have a look - Thank you
31st Jan - Appeal for Donations
January has been a very difficult month for us here at the Sanctuary. Despite our position here we have taken in two more horses who were recently abandoned. They have been called Princess Nuala & Ghost - pictures to follow. They were part of a herd of 22 who were all abandoned & a Sanctuary in Kent is feeding them now. As per below in case you missed it -that sanctuary has asked 40 (yes 40) other organisations to help & no-one will. Fiona said she would take 2. Everyone is finding it tough at the moment, but of course we cannot simply stop feeding the animals, so we have to bear the increase in costs ourselves & we are already stretched beyond reason !
Fiona is also training harder than ever before as she is determined to do well in the Marathon des Sables.
Our friend Paul is helping raising funds by running the London Marathon for the sanctuary & you can sponsor him at his chip in page HERE Please - if anyone else wants to do fund raising for us, please feel free to do so as we really do need your help. If you are on facebook - please share our page HERE on your walls as we need to dramatically increase awaress of the work that Fiona does - she is still very much "unknown" despite her incredible efforts & amazing sporting achievements. We are grateful to the Vegan society who are promoting Fiona's work & if you can help - please please do.
If you would like standing order forms or leaflets for your friends please let us know
Thank you very much from us & the Gang X
28th Jan - update to the entry below
We just noticed that in this article Runners World have incorrectly stated that Fionas top 10 & top 20 placings were "age group" results - This is utter rubbish as these results were overall position - puts a totally different perspective on her results. Fiona is absolutely devastated about this and is on the verge of packing up everything. I have written to Runners World to ask for an explanation. If others would do to, perhaps they might issue something in the next magazine. Fiona has worked so hard to achieve these extraordinary results & to have them demeaned in this way is demoralising
27th January - Fiona in Runners World Magazine
Fiona has been training harder than ever before (which is impossible!) for the Marathon des Sables this April. She has had to change her training substantially to cater for this Desert race which is totally different from running on the road. Running slower than usual Fiona has had to extend the length of her runs to get used to what it will be like in the Sahara desert. This means running for 5 hours a day rather than 2-3. When I say she is running slower than usual, she will still be running faster than the average decent club runner !
Covering now about 140 miles a week things here are about a strained as you can imagine as the animal work still needs to be done & it is still Winter - the toughest time of the year.
Here is a link to a PDF of page 32 of the March issue of Runners World Magazine which is out now (bizarrely...)
26th Jan - Ghost & Princess Nuala arrive
When I got home tonight there were 2 more horses than when I left this morning ! We have taken in 2 more lost souls who had nowhere else to go. 22 horses were recently abandoned & another Sanctuary has had to step in to look after them as they were not being fed. Clearly we are not really in a position to help, but we have squeezed in 2 of them to help out. The Sanctuary that stepped in had already asked 40 - yes 40 other rescues to help to no avail.
Pics to follow
16th January - New Vid Update
11th January - The Camel's Back
As regular readers will already know, we have it tough here. Yes we choose to do this for the sake of the animals lives we save, but few can imagine the personal sacrifice. Remember this is not what we do for a living, there are no salaries or expenses paid here and the stress of finding the best part of £7K a month to feed everyone & cover average vets bills is a massive burden. On top of this Fiona has to find time to be one of the Worlds fittest people - yes & I do mean the World - find me another with a resting pulse of just 27 beats per minute & bear in mind that a female's pulse beats faster than a mans. Fiona's athletic achievements are extraordinary - 4 marathon course records including the Essex County Championship course & the Dartmoor Vale - considered to be one of the toughest courses in the Country plus 2 tough courses in Finland - Plus what still shocks me the most I think is that Fiona was the FIRST lady to finish in the main race of the 2010 Great North run & got absolutely zero mention in the press ! - that is truly astounding & one of the biggest slaps in the face to date.
Oh yes & don't forget the poor girl has a knee replacement & no right knee cap...
Fiona is not a novelty Vegan - she has not just turned vegan to raise the profile of a flagging career - she has been Vegan for well over 20 years. Not only that, but she cares for hundreds of rescues - who else has 25+ dogs in their house to care for + all the outside farm animals & no staff or volunteers?
Now we are asking frankly the impossible of Fiona - for her to do all this AND train for the toughest footrace in the World - the Marathon Des Sables - basically a marathon a day for 6 days in the Sahara Desert, carrying all your food & supplies for the week.
Fiona has run 26 miles a day for the past 4 days on the trot - as well as all the jobs to see how she coped. This included a 30 mile night run with a head torch as one of the MDS stages is run at night. She is tough. She is very tough, but she is not invincible.
We said we would not take any more animals before Christmas & 3 more dogs later (Hannah, Queenie & Dino) we finally broke so said NO to a staffie called Pippa. She was at a pound & was due to be killed today. The person trying to home her asked Fiona over & over, crying down the phone but we said NO. - Was that the right thing to do? No-one else was going to save her - why do we have to bear the guilt of her premature death? It's not fair.
We know countless animals are PTS (or slaughtered) every day & we can do little to change that, but when we are personally contacted about one individual it is impossible not to get emotionally involved - I guess if it were possible to ignore it we would not be where we are today or doing what we do...
Anyway, we couldn't stand it. Faced with this guilt or perhaps darker choices Fiona went to the kennels before Pippa was killed & she is currently curled up with Charlotte the 3 legged staffie.
We can't however carry on without more help - the loyal 250 hard core members are the only reason we can carry on at all & I thank you for your continued support - however we MUST break into new territory if we are to survive - Fiona's facebook page has 464 likes ! - the Sanctuary page has 670 odd! - The Vegan Society has 79,000+ likes. ...we are virtually unknown.
We have no money to advertise, we can only rely on you - so please tell your contacts about Fiona's work - if you are on facebook please "Like" Fiona's page & share the stories on your walls. Fiona's Page is HERE & the Sanctuary page is HERE Meet Pippa HERE & if you want to help the animals here & can spare a few pounds a month (or even 1) please look here
25th December - Christmas Video Just uploaded the video of the three new Christmas Eve arrivals - It is on the Movies page HERE - there were some production issues, but we hope that doesn't spoil your enjoyment !
Thank you to all who have helped the animals this year - your support is gratefully appreciated !
Love from Fiona, Martin, Meg & the Gang !!
24th December - New Arrivals
First thing today a lorry arrived with a Calf called Eve - which was appropriate what with it being Christmas Eve ! - She had been injured & was of no use to the farmer, so having been treated by a vet, an organisation in Derbyshire were looking for a forever home for her...
Pictures to be posted soon. She is only 4 months old & has moved in with the Dartmoor rescues as she is about their size ! - We have set a Chip In up (see above) to see if we can raise the money to cover her transport costs to the Sanctuary which were about £200. The Chip In works in dollars, but don't worry if you are in the UK as it just feeds any money donated to the Sanctuary Paypal account & sorts out all the currency as if by magic !
Clearly we will be grateful for any amount sent to help towards these costs.
Yesterday a female staffie was saved by Fiona - She was on PTS at the pound as she had been classified as "a dangerous dog" - she is nestling in a bed as I type.
Later today we are expecting to take a very elderly dog who just needs a home for the Winter of his life - more news to follow on that.
19th December - 2012 Calendars
We still have about 40 calendars left for 2012 & of course they become useless at the end of this month, so if you would like one for £5 (including p & p) please let us know or order online on the adoptions page HERE - Thank You !! (scroll down the page when it opens)
18th December - Hannah Pictures
As mentioned below, Hannah was saved from the needle a few weeks ago & is now living with all her new friends at the Sanctuary - Here is her page with pictures
17th December - Update
Apologies for the lack of updates recently - we have been very busy these past few weeks. We had a stall at the Christmas without Cruelty Fayre in Kensington a few Sunday's back which went well and we raised about £800 on the day which we will put towards the December feed bill !
It was very nice to meet supporters of the Sanctuary and Fiona's work - so thank you to all who stopped by our stall to say hello. I was helped on the day by Kaylie & Jackie who booked the stall & actually organised everything including the very successful Tombola!
We have also recently rescued some Turkeys destined for slaughter - see the video on the movies page of them arriving back at the Sanctuary where they will be cared for & treated. We were allowed to rescue the ones considered to be too poorly for slaughter (for human consumption) which is about as ironic as it gets. We paid the farmer £50 to hold as many as he would - otherwise these "poorly" birds are simply culled.
Also we have taken another staffie called Hannah whose time had run out at the pound & was due for the needle. Fiona drove over to the pound to snatch Hannah from that fate with about 10 minutes to spare. I will post a picture of Hannah soon she is quite young & very sweet
28th November - Poor Hare
Driving home from her Mums Fiona came across a Hare which was in the road & appeared to have been run over. This was about 200 yards from home & so she stopped & caught him. He had a bloody nose & blood in his eye & his back leg was clearly broken but he was very much alive. We took him to our nearest vet & were basically told that they didn't treat wild animals & if they did, the RSPCA would be down on them like a ton of bricks (this was the receptionist, not a vet speaking) but rather than argue with people who clearly were not interested in helping him we took him 30 miles to House & Jackson in Blackmore.
They were very keen to help. Sadly however it transpired that both hind legs were crushed rather than just broken and were beyond repair & as a double hind leg amputation would not work for a Hare, we had to let them put him to sleep. He was a beautiful Hare with big amber eyes and never made a fuss. So sad.
There was no charge made at the vet - we did offer to pay, but they said no.
20th November - New Video Update
A video to show you more of the stable building refurbishments we have made ahead of the Winter. Clearly this is costing a lot of money, but it is vital that this work is completed as some parts of the buildings were getting delapidated & with each Winter the position worsens. The video also includes a few close encounters with some of the rescues !
17th November - Boiler again !
Sorry for the lack of updates recently - we have both been mega busy & for some reason I was locked out of the software to update this stuff ?$%^ - sorted now ...clearly !
Our boiler has been off since July - which has meant boiling kettles for hot water, but not too bad - however now its heading into Winter we must get this fixed as we need the heating on for the older dogs as well as for us! - Clearly with the state of the economy, donations have been down in the past few months & we have needed all the money I earn to keep the animals fed, so we just don't have money for household repairs like this. If anyone knows anyone who is animal friendly, corgi registered gas engineers who would like to help us with this, we would be very grateful. Its calor gas boiler called a Mexico Ideal II !! - although its less than ideal at the mo...
I will try hard to get a video update this weekend as we have had the builders in again this week & there are lots of updates & refurbishments to report ! - thank you all for your support and don't forget the calendars & cards as we plough relentlessely towards December ! - HERE
23rd October - Dartmoor Ponies Arrive Plus Winston the Pig !
A busy day today, as on top of the usual daily schedule we took delivery of the three rescued ponies from the Dartmoor Pony Sales as mentioned below. We also took in a new resident called Winston, a Pig who had grown a little too large for the residential property he was staying at ! - I have made a video of these events & posted it on one of the movies pages - see HERE
The video also includes an update about the stable repair project which has been desperately needed for some years. Despite the 30 grant applications we made yielding absolutely nothing ! we have had to press ahead as the work needs to be done before the Winter.
17th October - Fiona wins the Dartmore Vale Marathon
Less than 6 weeks from her last marathon win in Finland, Fiona has done it again - another new course record, this time in the UK, Devon. Fiona came 5th overall with just 4 men finishing in a faster time than her. She beat the next lady by 15 minutes !!!
The race organisers were stunned - one remarking that he thought Fiona ought to be paid for the promotion she does of Veganism!
The full report will be published soon - needless to say, the event co-incided with the Dartmoor Pony sales when the poor little chaps are rounded up to mostly go abroad to places like Iraq to be slaughtered - Hello? It's 2011 & this is still rife in the UK? - makes us very sad.
Fiona was unable to ignore it, & so asked a lady from the friends of the dartmoor pony rescue (who try & save as many lives as they can) to bid on a few of the ponies. We got 3 little chaps & they were transported back to Essex on Saturday (the day before the race).
They only cost £15 each at the sales, but of course the transport back here was a crippling £500. This clearly was a major consideration in deciding whether we could do anything to help some of the ponies - but we couldn't just ignore their plight - we feel awful about the ones we were unable to help. - If you would like to help us with the cost of this rescue, please do get in touch
Pictures & video will be uploaded at the weekend
Also - we will have an update in Winston the Pig ! - Currently residing in Hockley, but who is coming to live here as he is now too big for the residential house he is living in - he was bought on the understanding that he was a micro pig & would remain tiny - but he isn't...
The big project massive (aka the concrete project) is finished ! - We have successfully created a massive area of hard standing that will enable the Horses a Winter turn out area for when the ground is too soft for them to go out. I have prepared a video so you can see the extent of the work we have been undertaking here for the past 5 weeks at this link HERE
If anyone would like to help us with the huge cost of this project, please do not hesitate to get in touch - we will be very grateful ! - Thank you
New video of feeding some of the Loch Lomond Pigs is uploaded at the top of the movies page HERE
24th September - Trough Update
4 of the 6 new feed troughs have now been bought by supporters ! - these 4 troughs have all be bought with the Full Share option which is fabulous. The "donated by" plaques will be ordered next week & the Certificates signed by Percy Bear will organised & posted. Just TWO remaining troughs left, so if you would like your name on a Tower Hill Stables Feed Trough please visit this page - Thank you !
23rd September - The Saga of Aubrey the Cockerel
As I opened the garden gate yesterday to collect the food to take across the road to feed the Pigs I heard a cockerel crowing. This is not unusual, however I know all our cockerels & this was a call I was unfamiliar with. Also the sound seemed to be coming from just the other side of the hedge at the front of the property. My first thought was that someone had escaped - so I quickly ran down the drive to see what was going on. There on the grassy swathe was a dark red rooster. Not one of the Sanctuary roosters. He looked a little disheveled and was clearly scared. It was about 6:30 am and there was not much traffic on the road yet, but the as some cars, lorries & tractors do tend to drive past determined to prove Einstein wrong I was keen to try & coax the newly named Aubrey up the drive & away from the road as quickly as possible.
My initial approach caused him to run further away, but eventually I managed to get him up the drive. However he refused to go into the garden, instead doubling back & heading back to the road. I managed to get him down the drive again, but this time he veered left & went up next doors drive right to their house - where he started to crow !
I decided to block off the drive with my car, three wooden pallets & some other bits & pieces, so that if I could get him back down next doors drive, he wouldn't easily be able to head back to the road & instead would be forced to go through the gate to the Sanctuary.
As he was a long way down the drive & as I didn't want to scare him further into next doors property I had to double back behind some sheds & in a move I had recently seen on an episode of Stargate, approach him from his other side. This worked & Aubrey eventually was persuaded to enter the garden of the Sanctuary !
I dismantled the blockade & shut the gate. Ideally I would have liked to catch him, as these surroundings were new to him & a cockerel who has been abandoned in this way (i.e. dumped outside the Sanctuary - not the 1st time this has happened) is usually frightened & will scarper at great speed if alarmed. So I decided to simply ignore him & hope that he would follow the others who were now up & about, into the stable block to roost that evening.
I went to work & Fiona kept an eye out for him insofar as was possible during the day. However by evening, he was no where to be seen.
We searched high & low for him at dusk, but eventually conceded that he was either roosting in the stables & we just couldn't see him, or he was roosting outside somewhere & we just couldn't find him - or he had run away.
This morning I was hoping to hear his call in the garden, but nothing :0(
I went across the road again at 6:30 to feed the Pigs & as I approached the Pig Ark - there he was !!! - he had escaped, crossed the road (as chickens so often do...) and spent the night with CT & her gang of Pigs !
I acted as nonchalantly as I could, feeding the Pigs, as I watched Aubrey wander into a corner of the paddock. This was my chance. If I could corner him against the wire netting of the paddock I might be able to catch him. Chicken catching is hard on your own in an open space - well pretty much impossible unless they are tame - but when up against a wire fence, they sometimes try & escape through the wire & get their heads through before realising that their bodies are unable to follow giving you 11 to 18 milliseconds (approx) to launch an grab attack ! - It worked, I got him !!! Yay!
Aubrey is a heavy bird, so must have been getting well fed wherever he was before, but like I say we have on many occasions found Cockerel dumped outside presumably by people who just don't want them. Not a nice thing to do as they could so easily get killed on the road.
I have put him in a large dog cage we had down the stables which will serve as his home for the next month or so whilst he gets used to the surroundings of the stables. If we let him go again now he will just scarper, but after a few weeks he will be used to the daily routine & so when released the chances of him staying about will be greatly improved.
I will take his picture this weekend and post it here
20th September Feed Trough Update - UPDATE again - now 4 bought One trough has been bought so far - five more to go - please have a look at the video to see if you or anyone you know can help - thank you
16th September - New Feed Troughs Arrive !
One of the improvements we have made for the main gang of Horses and Cows concerns their feeding arrangements
Up till now we have used a range of buckets in the school areas - about 15 of them - and their feed is placed into these several times a day - Some of the Horses like their "own" bucket whilst most are happy to share. The problem with this is that when the buckets are empty the horses like to throw them about, stand on them - stand "in" them - and generally try & destroy them ! -Most buckets won't stand for this sort of treatment and if we allowed this to happen we would always be buying new ones - which is wasteful ! - However to prevent this from happening Fiona always collects the buckets in after each "sitting" & puts them out again - this however is not ideal as it is A) time consuming & B) is an unnecessary risk for Fiona to be in & amongst the Horses, as one accidental push from one could hurt her knee.
So... following the enormous success of our magnificent Hay Troughs purchased last year, we have invested in 6 steel Feed Troughs !
Each is two & a half meters long and pretty substantial - this was however an unplanned cost, but absolutely necessary as part of our Sanctuary Improvements Initiative.
Clearly we need to now raise the money to pay for them all as each Trough has cost £180 - I do actually think they are excellent value when you consider the materials that have gone into them, the weight of the item and the cost of delivery etc.
So following in the tradition of having the donors name placed onto the bench in the Park, now is your opportunity to have a Trough named after you !!
If anyone would like to donate the cost of one of these wonderful items, I will arrange for a small plaque to be made & bolted to one end of the Trough !
You might even want this as a gift for someone special for Christmas ! I can assure you there are not too many people walking about with a Feed Trough named after them !! (If you wanted to do this we would prepare a special certificate etc)
Clearly although any size of donation to help with the Trough Appeal will be most welcome to get your name on a Plaque you will need to donate at least a quarter share ! - i.e. £45 buys a quarter share, £90 a half share & £180 a full share ! - plaques for these amounts will be fixed onto the trough !
Percy & Lenin the Dogs have made a short video HERE of the troughs - the PayPal special trough Appeal buttons are also on this page.
As & when the plaques are affixed I will take a picture & post it on the page so you will be able to share the page and be the envy of your friends & neighbours !
7th September - Big Project Massive
Earlier in the year I researched & wrote to over 30 Trust Fund type charities with a grant application to see whether any of them would help the animals here by funding or helping towards one of our projects. I selected each one based on the information on the charities commission website - i.e. I chose only charities who stated in their "objects" that they made grants to animal welfare organisations & also those that I could see had previously donated to sanctuaries - you can see this if you look at their accounts which are all online & available from the charity commission website.
Three have responded so far (since March/April). One to say that they were taken over by another organisation & no longer make grants available. Another to say no & another to say no, but do ask us again next year !!
However, unperturbed, we have kicked off a large project anyway as we must complete it ahead of the Winter - not that we have had much of a Summer ! - The plan is to significantly expand our hard standing area (concrete) so that we can more easily manage during the Winter. You cannot beat concrete for this as it ensures that the Horses & Cows do not get muddy when turned out during the wet season (October to... urm September... eheh)
Anyway - we are having a further 110 square meters of concrete laid which is going to cost us about £12,000. This is a lot of money we know, but we must continue to improve our facilities for the sake of the animals and of course to enable Fiona to continue to care for so many as well as fit in her training - the results of which speak for themselves (see entry 3rd Sept!)
The work has started and I will create a page with photos so you can see the progress. This work will continue throughout September - weather permitting !
If you would like to help with a donation towards this project we would be very pleased to hear from you & you can either donate on line via the Paypal link above or by cheque payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary & sent to us at Asheldham, Essex, CM0 7DZ - Thank you very much - any amount is very much appreciated & if you do donate please say its for the concrete project !
In other news - arriving home from work today I was horrified to see the car in front of me fail to spot a wood pigeon sitting in the road & it just ploughed straight into the poor thing on the junction right outside the Sanctuary. There were feathers everywhere & the poor bird was left still sitting in the road clearly stunned. I whacked the hazards on & got out. The bird flapped into the nettles at the side of the road when I approached but I managed to grab her & got back in the car. She had lost all her tail feathers and was clearly stunned.
I pulled into the drive & then took her down the stables, setting her up in a spare hutch with some food & water and a soft bed of hay. She was still OK when I checked just now (10 pm) and Fiona will keep an eye on her tomorrow.
It must be the season for it, as Fiona found a similar case last week, where a stunned bird was just sitting in the road. She managed to catch him & he is doing well a week later - still can't fly as he lost a lot of wing feathers, but as soon as he is recovered we will take him back to where we found him & let him go.
5th September - Wot no luggage ?
Fiona and her mum arrived home last night but they were without their luggage. Yes, Finnair failed to transfer it to the right plane & after all the bags were collected by other passengers Fiona & her mum began to get a sinking feeling as the now empty luggage carousel chugged round and round in front of them.
All her prizes, trophy cup, running gear, press cuttings & last nights food for tea! were in that luggage...
The Finnair staff were very keen to stress that it was nothing to do with them as of course they only work there. Instead of their luggage they have a piece of paper with the assurance that if it turns up they will send it on.
What a disappointment for poor Fiona, after a terribly delayed outbound journey to have this happen on the return leg just takes the biscuit. Well done Finnair.
Fiona now holds THREE marathon course records - How cool is that ! - The Ruska Marathon, The Santa Claus Marathon & the Halstead Marathon.
UPDATE - luggage arrived today by courier ! - thank goodness for that
4th September - Fiona wins the Ruska Marathon
Fiona has today broken yet another course record in winning the Ruska Marathon in Kittila, Finland ! - Fiona is the very first lady runner to break the 3 hour barrier on this course which is fantastic news.
Fiona won the Santa Claus marathon in Finland last year and was set to defend her title this year, but a bout of flu prevented her from competing this time. So she set her sights on this end of season marathon in the very north of Finland (Lapland)
Her journey there however was a nightmare as the plane was delayed by a few hours at Gatwick resulting in a missed connection flight from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. This meant an extended wait in the departure lounge at Helsinki for about 6 hours - not good for stress. Additionally, Fiona's journey was not over on reaching Rovaniemi as she then had a 90 km bus trip to the town of Levi near where the marathon was to start. As the plane took off Fiona also had an ear problem, and went deaf in one ear. On final arrival at the hotel she saw the hotels doctor who said she was running a temperature and had an ear infection. You can probably imagine what she was feeling like - stress wise as well as ill- wise.
So rather than cut her losses & come home, Fiona decided to run with A RUCKSACK on to simulate what it will be like when she does the marathon des sables in the desert next year.
I was therefore more than a little shocked when I took a call from hear earlier today to tell me she had won !! - despite carrying a weight round - Setting a new course record is really fantastic news and we just hope that this will bring some more publicity to Fiona's work and the plight of animals throughout the world
16th August - Marathon des Sables
Now regular readers will know that Fiona is tough; she is very tough indeed! so tough in fact that she has been offered a place in the Marathon des Sables for 2012!
This marathon is generally regarded as the toughest foot race in the World ! - 153 miles across the Saraha desert in temperatures up to 50 degrees Centigrade, carrying all your own equipment and food for the 6 day event ! - It's a marathon a day with one stage being 50 miles.
We cannot find any record of another Vegan female attempting this event - so we have a golden opportunity to demonstrate that being Vegan is not prohibitive to the performance of the human body in one of the most dramatic and extreme ways !
Fiona has been offered a place with the Charity Facing Africa Noma which works tirelessly to perform facial reconstructions in Ethiopia on people who have been ravaged by the gangrenous disease called Noma - for more information about Facing Africa see here.
We need to raise £8500 for the charity - £3500 for the trip & a minimum of £5000 which will go towards their wonderful work. We will be setting up donation pages in the next few days
Additionally Fiona wants to raise funds and awareness for the Vegan Society with who she will be working closely to help publicise the event, as well of course hoping to raise support for the rescues back at the Sanctuary ! This is a massive undertaking - simply google "marathon des sables" to read accounts of the race and to find out more about it - Fund raising page HERE
5th August - The Hay Team
Not had a chance to update this page for a while & have quite a bit to report - first story to report is about the hay collecting ! Yes its that time of year - we got a call from Ernie - who lets us collect from his fields - to say that the hay was ready ! - we were allowed to have 600 ! - I managed to get a couple of folk from my office and together with supporter Leigh, and supporter Keith's van we started to collect it in. We managed 176 the first evening as we were not able to start until about 7:30 pm.
Given that rain was forecast, I decided to take a day off work to start collecting during the day, as there was no way we would be able to do 400+ on the following evening & the day after rain was forecast.
So Fiona & I drove out at lunchtime to start the next "batch" - we got about 150 more & left the final 250 odd for the evening shift - However as we were still concerned that 250 was a lot for the evening shift & as we were not 100% sure whether any additional help was able to attend, we though we would go back & get another load. When we got there someone else was collecting what was left & we only managed to grab another 30 or so.
Turns out that Ernie had told someone else they coould have 100 & they took 300 !!
In the end we took 389 which was still quite a haul, as each one collected was saving us £3 !! - each ONE. Delivered hay is £4.50 a bale & off the field we were paying £1.50, so we have still saved a £1000 odd.
Big thanks go to Matt, Laura, Leigh & Keith for the loan of the van !
If you want to be in the Hay Team - just let us know - remember there is literally 12 hours notice & it will be whenever the hay is made - i.e. sometime between June & August !! Clearly you need to live within striking distance of the Sanctuary (CM0 7DZ)
Thank you ! - Pictures HERE
16th July - Midnight's Hour
Midnight was an ex-riding school horse who we took in when he was retired. He was a lovely horse, very gentle & sweet and was usually to be found in the garden wandering about doing his own thing.
Midnight has been with us for quite a few years and has always been well. However last week we noticed a swelling on his undercarriage which was starting to spread down his back legs. Erik from House & Jackson came out & said that it was either Midnight's heart or his lungs & that both could probably treated with drugs. Midnight's breathing had become shallow & laboured so we wasted no time in getting him sent to the surgery for tests which were required in order to determine the cause.
I called into see Midnight on my way home from work on the day that he had been admitted and it was with shock that I received the news that the scans had revealed that the picture was considerably worse than at first suspected. Midnight was suffering with cancer of the chest & lymphatic system. He had been "coping" with this for a short while without displaying any symptoms, but when the cancer had progessed to a particular stage, his heart was no longer able to cope & there was a fluid build up. This was compressing his ability to breath and ability for his heart to function efficiently.
Radical surgery would have been possible to drain the fluid, but not to cure him. Erik said that the surgery would have been painful and invasive & the fluid would only build up again in a matter of days & so given Midnights 30 year age we had to do the kindest thing for him but still a painful thing for us as we loved him very much.
Midnight, or 'Midders' as he was called will be especially missed by his best friend Charity who herself is 41.
Including the transport, cremation and scans at the vets this has set us back around £1000.
If you are able to help us with this cost, please do get in touch. It is this sorts of thing that financially hits us sideways as it is difficult enough to meet the feed costs without these tragic costs - particularly painful when the poor soul concerned is lost too.
Thank you very much
12th July - Expansion Appeal !
Further to the note below about our new site, if anyone would like to contribute towards the cost of electric fencing the field we would be most grateful. All in, the unit, fencing nails and electric rope came to £160 and a car battery was supplied free by Tim at Latchingdon Garage ! - What a nice man he is !! - He also has fixed our Generator which went wrong again for Free.
Donations can be made online at the paypal button above or if you want to send a cheque to avoid the Paypal commission, please make it payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary & post to us at Asheldham, Essex, CM0 7DZ - thank you
I have added a NEW BUTTON to the Monthly PayPal subscribers page specifically for "New Field" Membership for various amounts per month - there are different levels of supporter, so check the various options out! - So, if you would like to become a member of the sanctuary via this option your monthly donation will go specifically towards the cost of this new field ! For other ways to help see HERE
10th July - Expansion !
The Sanctuary has now expanded to its 4th site ! - A: The main Sanctuary; B: the field at Tillingham; C: We have 4 horses at livery with our favourite transporter! & now D: We have a few more acres at another property in Asheldham - about 400 yards up the road !
This move came on the back of saving another life - a lady who saves horses destined for transport to Europe for meat called Fiona to ask whether she could squeeze any one in...
Prince Nuada (as Fiona has named him) arrived in the week (...I found out today!!) and was delivered straight to the field at Tillingham. He is a lovely grey cobby type & it is so awful to think of what he was destined for - & what countless others have to endure just to satisfy the palate of some. (pictures of him to come)
So as we are already full at Tillingham, we moved (Twinkle & Poppy who are best friends) to the new site today and also we took Jay & Ben to help them tackle all the grass they now have ! - thank you to Ian who helped us walk them up the road !
See HERE for pictures & more details
Camille, one of our elderly Cats passed away last night. She will be missed :0(