Homeless charity fights on

Marc Cartmell with Denzel as he leaves Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary due to its closure
Marc Cartmell with Denzel as he leaves Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary due to its closure
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A threatened animal sanctuary is soldiering on against all odds.

Animal-lover Mandy Leigh, 68, has rehomed around 22,000 elderly and abandoned pets since the opening of Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary 20 years ago.

The charity was forced to vacate its premises in St Annes in March when it was served an eviction notice by the new land owners following a year long row over the tenancy.

But despite this setback - and a £5k weekly bill to pay for the accommodation and care of more than 30 dogs, cats and horses - Mandy insists Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary is still going strong.

She said: “We have been rehoming cats and dogs as normal and that hasn’t changed. We’re just having to use private boarding kennels to house them.

“It’s definitely more difficult than it used to be, and I’m not any younger. We’ve got our charity shops running as normal but when it comes to staff looking after the animals, we only have three people.

“People can’t just come along and wander around and look at the animals like they used to do. We’re more limited now and we can’t take rabbits and birds and pigs like we used to.”

The loss of premises is not the first challenge staff at Easterleigh have faced. In 2011, some 26 animals lost their lives in a blaze after two arsonists went on a drunken rampage. The fire caused around £25,000 of damage to the shelter.

Mandy said: “I have not spent 20 years of my life doing this just to give up now.

“I’ve never once felt like packing it in. As you get older sometimes you do feel lonely or depressed, but then you think of all the little animals you’ve helped and it makes it all worthwhile.

“Whenever we rehome an animal I’m absolutely thrilled. I feel a little bit worried obviously, but I’m very fussy about where the animals go.

“It’s so gratifying when people send pictures and cards from the pets showing how they are getting on.

“We’re still going, we haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth and we still need your support. I’m a strong believer in fate and I feel confident that Easterleigh will find a new home hopefully next year.”

n Can you help Easterleigh? Visit at the shop on Abingdon Street, Blackpool, or call (01253) 595333.