COLUMN: If people don’t help, I don’t know what’s going to happen...

Mary Hepworth who runs Albert's Horse Sanctuary in Cawthorne, Barnsley, says the sanctuary is full to capacity
Mary Hepworth who runs Albert's Horse Sanctuary in Cawthorne, Barnsley, says the sanctuary is full to capacity
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By Mary Hepworth, owner of Albert’s Horse Sanctuary, in Barnsley

My family and I never intended to run a sanctuary; our hearts ruled our heads and it just happened.

Volunteers at Alberts Horse Sanctuary having to move hay by hand

Volunteers at Alberts Horse Sanctuary having to move hay by hand

In the past ten years, we have grown so fond of all our animals and carried on regardless of our health and finances, because we have unconditional love for these animals and they deserve the best. There have been times that my daughters and my husband and myself have gone without food ourselves to ensure we can afford to feed the horses. After all, you can’t explain to an animal why it’s going hungry, you just can’t do it. Nobody has to have an animal, but if you take one on, it needs you to the very end.

I would like to thank everyone who reads The Star and who has supported us through our ups and mainly downs of the past ten years. We are as usual struggling big time and I think it is only with God’s help we have lasted this long. My daughters and I do everything we can at the sanctuary, caring for the ainmals and keeping things running all on our own. However, it os entirely unpaid and unfunded, so we all have different commitments which makes things difficult.

We have over forty animals at the sanctuary at present and we have lost eleven horses through ill health. We’ve also rehomed quite a few; they all have names and they have all left an empty space in our hearts. We feel blessed to have known these animals and are pleased that, those who died, ended their days with us as happy as we could make them and that they didn’t end up in the food chain or passed on from one person to another.

We know that we will not be able to keep going and continue to protect these animals unless we can raise around £4,000 to enable us to buy a cheap tractor for the winter, as we have been pushing large bales of haylage, a couple of times a week, down the fields through mud and this has been physically difficult and has resulted in various ailments. Without the tractor, we worry we won’t be able to take food to the animals much longer. We don’t have people do any fundraising events for us and soley rely on a couple of trusts and the kind generosity of the same people over and over again. We really need help and people to kindly donate a small amount every month to help with the ongoing expenses, or to have fund raising events for us.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. If you think you could help in any way, please contact us on 07721 327879 or come to visit us at the sanctuary, on South Lane in Cawthorne.

We really hope to hear from you.