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There With You: Hopefield Animal Sanctuary appeals for urgent support to survive lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:57 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:11 02 April 2020

Hopefield Easter fun day last April 2019. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Hopefield Easter fun day last April 2019. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Ricci Fothergill

A well-known and much-loved Brentwood animal sanctuary is appealing for vital support to see it through the coronavirus pandemic.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary fun day last summer 2019. Picture: Hopefield Animal SanctuaryHopefield Animal Sanctuary fun day last summer 2019. Picture: Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, after being forced to close due to new government regulations to halt the spread of coronavirus, has lost more than 75 per cent of our income over night and does not have enough reserves to survive indefinitely.

CEO of Hopefield, Dave Schlaich said: “We hope all our supporters are keeping safe in these troubling times and while everyone we know is worried about what’s going on please don’t forget your local charities.

“We have also found a massive increase in the amount of animals needing homes and rescue centres are going to struggle to help.

“With massively reduced income and limited space there is only so much they can do so please seriously think before looking to give up a pet and only do so if all other avenues have been tried.”

Red Iguanas Percy and Penny, residents at Hopefield. Picture: Hopefield Animal SanctuaryRed Iguanas Percy and Penny, residents at Hopefield. Picture: Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

The sanctuary in Brentwood has reindeer, cows, horses, pygmy goats, ferrets and even iguanas – all which have been rescued. It’s seen an asset to the community ever since its opening with many regular summer events for children and opportunities to meet animals.

Home to more than 500 animals now, the sanctuary was founded in 1983 by Paula and Ernie Clark.

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It had been the coldest winter for 20 years and the stories of ponies and cobs being abandoned by their owners on Rainham Marshes were hitting the headlines.

There With You - the Romford Recorder's campaign to help everyone get through coronavirus crisis.There With You - the Romford Recorder's campaign to help everyone get through coronavirus crisis.

Paula, a doctor’s receptionist, was already raising money for other sanctuaries, and was in tears over the story of the abandoned horses.

The couple vowed to take action and help the animals that needed them, they went down to the marshes where 16 horses were already dead and the others were starving.

They took tanks of water to them, bales of hay and feed, even getting the vet to examine some of them.

Paula and Ernie started to raise money to buy the horses and move them to other sanctuaries and helped them to raise funds.

After securing their own land for a sanctuary, they started taking horses in bring back to health and rehouse.

The first horse they fostered out was Pye. After hearing soon after that the foster owners were trying to sell him and finding him in a terrible state, Ernie took them to court, costing them £4,000.

Paula and Ernie have kept and nurtured every animal since.

Help save Hopefield and the wonderful work they do for the community here.


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