Sheffield heritage bosses have launched a fundraising campaign to help pay for the treatment of a beloved work horse.
A trip to Manor Lodge is not complete without a sight of Big Lad, the Clydesdale horse who gives demonstrations of traditional farming methods.
But the animal has recently been under the weather, and after blood tests was diagnosed with laminitis, a disease that can be crippling. He also has flu-like symptoms and inflammation.
Staff and volunteers at Manor Lodge are waiting for the results of ultrasound scans and other checks to find out how serious the illness is. But in the meantime they have set up an online crowdfunding page to try to cover his veterinary bills.
Farm ranger Ethel Worthington said: “We are very sad that Big Lad is ill. Big Lad has been part of our team for many years and is much loved by staff, volunteers and the public. We hope he gets better very soon.
“We are crossing our fingers that it is not so serious, but for now he is on painkillers and antibiotics. He can’t feed on grass so is having to stare longingly at donkeys Rosie and Lilly as they frolic in the field.
“We want to get Big Lad on the road to recovery as soon as possible. Any donations towards Big Lad’s vets’ fees would be greatly appreciated and could help make a big difference.”
Working horses like Big Lad were once a common sight around Manor Lodge. Manor Oaks Farm had four when it was sold in 1938 to make way for the Manor housing estate.
Now the horse is a key attraction at the restored farmhouse and is available for hire across Sheffield. So far about £200 has been donated, and people have left messages of support.
John Clarke wrote: “He has helped so many children and adults at open days to realise their potential – it’s our time to pay him back.”
And Helen Herman, who donated £30, wrote: “Get well soon.”
n Visit Big Lad Just giving Page to donate.