The founder of an animal charity faced with closure says she is astonished by the support of Gazette readers after she launched a £100,000 fund-raising drive to find a new home.
Earlier this week The Gazette revealed Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary in St Annes could close in the coming months after losing out in a long-running legal battle.
Around 50 animals, including cats, dogs and horses, face having no home while 16 staff look set to lose their jobs.
The founder of the charity, Mandy Leigh, said she has been forced to put her home up for sale in a bid to generate cash to buy a new sanctuary – but estimates she is still £100,000 short of the cash she needs.
The charity, which rescues and re-homes unwanted or neglected animals, has launched a fund-raising drive in the hope of getting the cash together for a new home on the Fylde coast.
Almost £1,000 has already been raised in just three days.
Mrs Leigh said she is astonished by the response to the sanctuary’s plight, which was revealed in The Gazette on Monday.
She said: “One lady donated £800 with another giving us £100.
“One woman has even offered me the chance to stay with her if I sell my home – it has been a great response.”
The Gazette understands the land where Easterleigh is based off Queensway was bought for a five-figure sum at Christmas.
Mrs Leigh said the new owner is refusing to come to terms on a lease agreement and has issued the sanctuary with a notice to quit – effectively terminating its tenancy.
She added the charity has even offered a five-figure sum to cover rent arrears to the land owner but no lease has been agreed.
Mrs Leigh, 66, said: “If we do not get the money there is nowhere to go.
“We need every penny – whether it is £1 or £5.
“I really want the charity to stay in the area.
“I have been looking at other places but we are so needed here.
“There is no dog rescue home in this area.
“All my staff have been with me years and have mortgages and bills to pay – it is a serious situation.”
Easterleigh first opened its doors almost 20 years ago.
If you would like to donate to Easterleigh go to www.justgiving.com/easterleighanimalsanctuary or call (01253) 595333.
Vodafone mobile phone owners can text EAST25 £10 to 70070 to give £10, while cheques can be made payable to Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary and sent to 30 Caxton Avenue, Blackpool, FY2 9AP.