Easterleigh founder Mandy gets the last laugh at funeral

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The founder of a Fylde coast animal sanctuary who died following a battle with cancer had the last laugh at her funeral.

Mandy Leigh, founder of Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, was laid to rest at Lytham Crematorium today.

Staff members from the sanctuary were given letters written by Mandy that read: “Warning: if you are reading this, it must mean you are sat at my funeral. You are well aware that I did not want a funeral, so you are all sacked!”

Friends shared memories of the ‘courageous, kind, independent and beautiful’ woman, who rehomed more than 22,000 animals in her lifetime.

Mel Shaw said: “One of the stories she told me during her time at the sanctuary was about a horse called Spider. Mandy took Spider for a hack around the moss where he got spooked and fell in a ditch. The rescue took six hours.

“The fire service had to attend and in the end they managed to pull him out. It was touch and go. Mandy promptly lit a celebratory cigarette and fainted.”

She added that, as a teenager, Mandy once landed herself in hot water with the police after punching a man at an animal rights march in London. She said: “In her last days, sometimes it would be just the two of us, with me rubbing her back and talking. We spoke about her life, her hopes and dreams. Mandy said to me ‘You would’ve been a good daughter to me’. It broke my heart and will never leave me.”

A tribute from long-term Easterleigh staff memberMarc Cartmell read: “I just want to thank Mandy for believing in me, nurturing me, teaching me and inspiring me.”

And fellow staff member Debbie Stannard said: “I will always be thankful to Mandy for giving me my job and I promised her that we, the staff and trustees, would continue her work and look after her charity.”