Tributes paid to Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary owner

Easterleigh founder Mandy Leigh with her dog Tilly
Easterleigh founder Mandy Leigh with her dog Tilly

The founder of a Fylde coast animal sanctuary who rehomed more than 22,000 elderly and abandoned animals has died.

Mandy Leigh, 69, owner of Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, died at her Bispham home on Tuesday following a short battle with lung cancer.

Marc Cartmell, 30, who began working at Easterleigh at the age of 18, said: “She was as tough as a bag of nails but as gentle as a daisy.

“She worked seven days a week and never stopped until the day she died.

“I spent more time on the phone with her than I did my mum. She was a huge part of my life.

“She never had any kids, just her animals and her staff. She was always there for me from when I was a kid until I was an adult.”

Mandy founded Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary in 1995 and accepted dogs, cats, small pets, horses and even pigs.

The sanctuary hit headlines in 2011 when an arson attack at its Queensway Park Farm site in St Annes killed 26 rescue animals.

Doors were closed at the site in March 2016, but the rescue continued to care for needy animals with the help of local kennels.

Debbie Stannard, who cared for Mandy at her Caxton Avenue home, said: “An animal was never put down on her watch. Any operations they needed she would pay for them.

“We want everyone to know that Easterleigh is going to continue in her name. The staff that are with us will continue her legacy.”

Marc added that Mandy’s voice would likely be kept on the sanctuary’s answerphone to honour her memory.