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»Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon has come to the rescue of a former Harold Hill woman who was stranded in India after reading about her in the Recorder.

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The singer has been made the patron of Animal Rescue Kerala (ARK) in Kerala, India, which was set up and run by Avis Lyons, who used to live in Oak Hampton Square, Straight Road.

Alesha wrote on her official website: “Being an animal lover myself and a dog owner, it was a natural move to lend my support and become their patron.”

Cancer

In May the Recorder wrote a story about Avis, 70 who left Romford ten years ago to set up Ark, the first animal charity in Kerala.

But in 2009 Avis was diagnosed with rectum cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and has since developed complications as a result of cancer.

Avis came to the Recorder for help because she wanted to find someone who was willing to take over the running of the charity so that she could return home.

Now thanks to the Recorder, Avis is preparing to return home to England and spend time with her family and friends.

Avis’ daughter, Odette Tompkins said: “It’s a big weight off my mum’s shoulders.

“She is 70 and now that she has got someone to look after the charity she can come home and see her family who she hasn’t seen for ten years.

“She always worried about what would happen to the charity if something happened to her.”

A Recorder reader saw the article in the paper and wrote to animal lover Alesha telling her about Avis’ plight and including a copy of the article.

Alesha then wrote to Avis offering help.

Avis has also managed to find a couple who will take on the day to day running of the charity.

Alesha has planned a number of fundraising events to help the pair to run the charity. She wrote to fans on her website: “ARK is not only a rescue centre, but also a sanctuary for many animals that are not able to fend for themselves.

“Dogs, cats, rabbits and even horses have found a permanent home here.

“To continue the good work carried out within ARK they must meet the monthly financial costs incurred. As no government funding is received, ARK is totally reliant on public donation or corporate sponsorship.

“Please spread awareness of ARK ...Together we can make a difference.”

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