Sanctuary News

Young Horses Need A Home

Abandoned with a group of around 14 other pregnant mares, mum Sydney gave birth to her daughter, India in April

 The Sanctuary took Sydney in after she was seized by trading standards and no owner could be found. Both mother and baby are now in excellent health.this year at Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset.

Nikki Haddock, Head of Animal Care at Ferne Animal Sanctuary said: “We are now preparing to wean them so they will both be looking for new homes with people who have experience of training and keeping young horses.

“Ideally India would love a playmate of a similar age.  She is quite a big girl and we would expect her to make at least 14.2hh.  When she is fully grown she would be suitable for riding or being broken to harness.  She has been very well handled here and can lead, be groomed and pick her feet up.

“Sydney is 5 years old. It’s unknown if she has ever had any training. She has had quite an unpleasant life and is often on the defence – but with some time and tender loving care, she should come round and be a lovely pony.

“Abandoned ponies are now a huge problem throughout the UK. Without charities like us who are willing to take them in, these two would not have stood a chance.”

Anyone who can help should contact Nikki Haddock at Ferne Animal Sanctuary on 01460 65214.

Rabbits Need Homes!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset is currently overrun with male rabbits and is seeking suitable homes for them.

Nikki Haddock, Head of Animal Care said: “We urgently need people to come forward who can help. The rabbits will require suitable housing. They need access to outside runs with grass and a companion, where appropriate.

“Some of the rabbits arrived as strays, so the information we have about these is limited, but they are all good to handle.

“There must be homes out there for them – I can’t believe that Gulliver rabbit (pictured), Benjamin bunny, Roger rabbit and numerous others will be here for long.

“We are looking for kind, loving people who can provide them with the environment they need. If that’s you, please give us a call on 01460 65214.”

Ferne Needs You!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, Chard, Somerset is seeking local support and volunteers for their biggest event of the year, the hugely popular annual Family Fun Day. Taking place on Wednesday 5th August 2015, this event always attracts an enormous crowd and is a fabulous day out for the whole family.

This time the event has a 1940’s theme to celebrate Ferne’s remarkable 75th Anniversary year.

Organiser Sarah Jackson from Ferne said: “This year everyone at Ferne is really excited as we have more attractions than ever! They include Sharandy’s Birds of Prey, Punch and Judy, arena displays, vintage vehicles, a History of Ferne presentation, bouncy castle and rides, face painting, a miniature railway and more.

“There will also be family games from the era and competitions for the Best Dressed 1940’s Lady, Gent, Boy and Girl, which will be great fun. In addition there will be a Tug of War and of course, our Annual Mascot Race, which is hilarious!

“Amongst numerous stallholders, we’ll have traditional sweets and a Dig for Victory (plants and home produce) stall. There’ll also be traditional wood turning and wool spinning, a raffle and tombola.”

A “Dogs at War” Photographic Exhibition is being very kindly provided by Chard Museum and Heritage Centre.

Sarah continued: “And of course, everyone will be able to meet Ferne’s wonderful animals and visit Pets Corner. There will be a children’s story teller on site too.”

Over £7,000 was raised in 2014 at this event. Ferne need help to make this year’s Family Fun Day the biggest and best ever to celebrate their special anniversary year.

“As well as welcoming new volunteers to help with all sorts of areas on the day, we need donations of books, soft toys (with CE label) and raffle prizes. Donated items can be dropped off at the Sanctuary near Chard, or at one of Ferne’s charity shops in Chard, Langport or Bridport, making sure staff know that any items are for the event,” Sarah concludes.

Refreshments will be available all day. The event is open from 11am until 4pm. Price is £5 per car. A free Ferne shuttle bus service is being provided from Crowshute car park in Chard. There will be a discount off the entry fee for groups arriving by the Ferne shuttle bus (£4 per family of up to 5 people and £1 for every extra person). The last bus leaves the Sanctuary at 4.30pm.

Whopping Donation!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook near Chard were thrilled to receive two donations recently from “Support Adoption for Pets” raised by customers from Axminster and Taunton Pets at Home stores.

The Axminster store raised a whopping £1,115.85 and the Taunton store £642.25.

Jenny Wheadon, Head of External Funding from Ferne Animal Sanctuary said: “Everyone at Ferne was absolutely delighted to receive such generous donations from the customers at Pets at Home, we can’t thank them enough.”

Miriam Christian from Pets at Home, Axminster said: “We really would like our customers to know how grateful we are to them for their continued support with our charity work. Events will be happening during the summer months so please keep a look out within the stores.”

Tea Party a Roaring Success!

National Volunteers Week started on 1st June 2015 and to celebrate, Ferne Animal Sanctuary volunteer Gemma Beaton and Volunteer Co-ordinator Amanda Thornton decided to host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at their site in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset.

Amanda Thornton said: “The Mad Hatters Tea Party was a celebratory event to say a massive thank you to all our fantastic volunteers. What better way to mark their dedication and generosity than to take them on a slightly bizarre adventure to Wonderland!”

“It was a fantastic event, beautifully planned out with a full cast of Wonderland characters from Alice to the Sleepy Dormouse, all played by members of staff and a few willing volunteers.

“The function room was gloriously decorated and laid out with teacups and cupcakes. There were quotes from the book all over the tables and playing card bunting in abundance making everyone truly believe they had fallen down the rabbit’s hole.

“Most of the volunteers turned up with crazy hats. Best Hat was awarded to Mo Cunnold from Chard for a fantastic teapot and tea cosy construction precariously perched upon his noggin!”

Many volunteers entered their homemade cakes into the Great Wonderland Bake Off, judged by none other than Mary Berry (Anne Richards) and Paul Hollywood (Paul Strawbridge, Ferne Animal Sanctuary’s Estates Manager).

Winners of the bake off were Emily Roberts and Jenny Broadly from Chard, with the group Sweet Surprise taking home the prestigious award of Star Bakers.

The tea party was swiftly followed with croquet in the sunshine. The lawn was laid out with a croquet circuit and a crazy croquet set, provided by top-notch croquet players, Stephen Custance-Baker from Taunton Dean Croquet Club with help from Sue and Alan Lyn from Dowlish Wake Croquet Club.

“Everyone agreed that trying to get the ball into the bucket in the Crazy Croquet was harder than first thought, although highly entertaining. Nobody wanted to win though, as the Queen of Hearts (Elaine Hayes, Ferne Animal Sanctuary’s CEO) was playing and would probably have been less than impressed.

“There was, however, a tasty bottle of wine for the winner, Vicki Yellowley from Lyme Regis. She happily reports that she was not harmed by ‘Her Majesty’”, said Amanda.

She continued: “We must thank Recycling In Ottery (RIO) for kindly lending us crockery, all the volunteers, croquet tutors and everyone who pitched in or donated their time and teapots in order to make this event possible.

“The party was a massive success. We hope to see our volunteers around the same time next year for another fabulous event.  But how do we top this one….?”

Cats and Kittens Need Homes!

 Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset is overrun with cats and kittens and has issued a plea for people to come forward to provide homes for them.

“Some have been at the Sanctuary for months now and are beginning to show signs of stress” said Tara Nirula, Re-homing Manager.

“Riley (pictured) was brought into Ferne as a stray a month ago in a dreadful condition and very thin.

“He has a deformed ear which the vet believes is the result of a bad ear infection that was not treated at the time, but this does not cause any problems now.

“We think he is about five years old and at some point in his life must have been a loved pet as he is very friendly and affectionate – and will give kisses on command!”

Tara continued: “Over the past few months we have had eight stray cats brought in, including a heavily pregnant cat that gave birth to her kittens two days later. We’ve also had a three week old kitten that was hand reared. And there are more kittens on the way.

“Many of the stray cats were in a bad way with skin conditions, eye and ear infections and all quite emaciated.

“After having veterinary treatment, regular feeding and lots of care from the Sanctuary staff, they have all developed into happy, healthy, friendly cats who love human attention; some are still a little timid, but are gaining in confidence every day.”

“We are urgently looking for loving homes with special people who can give these cats and kittens a second chance in life. The owners must have patience and commitment but most of all, lots of love to give.”

Anyone who can help should call the Sanctuary on 01460 65214 or email

Fun Dog Show Coming Soon!

HRH The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and James Wellbeloved are sponsoring the first Country Park Fun Dog Show being held on Sunday 12 July 2015 at the Stone Circle, Ham Hill Country Park, Stoke Sub Hamdon, Somerset. The show is in aid of The Friends of Ham Hill and Ferne Animal Sanctuary, Wambrook, near Chard.

Organisation of the event, which promises to be a real fun day out for all the family, is now in full swing. There will be ten fun dog classes which will include Fancy Dress, Best Treat Catcher, Young Handler and Ham Hill Mascot.

In addition, there will be dog agility demonstrations, a have-a-go agility courtesy of the National Animal Welfare Trust and free micro-chipping by Dogs Trust. A drawing/painting competition “Sketch-your-pet” for children under the age of 14 will be judged on the day (entries to be submitted by 11.30am).

There will also be a variety of trade and information stands (including refreshments) and a bouncy castle for children.

Organisers Donna McNeill and Sarah Cutler said: “This is the first event of this size that we have organised and so far has been tremendous fun.  We have received an unprecedented amount of support from local businesses keen to be involved.  It has led us to meet some wonderful people who will be working with us to make this a fun day out for all the family (and the dogs!), and ultimately to bring the community together to raise funds for two really deserving local charities.

“As dog lovers ourselves, we know how our canine friends become an important part of the family, so it’s great to enjoy a day out where your dog can be the centre of attention.  We look forward to meeting all the entrants and can’t wait to see all your creative ideas for the fancy dress class!  So whether your dog is young or old, large or small, pure bred or Heinz 57 with a great character there will be a class for them to enjoy.”

Nanette Wale, Chairman of Trustees at Ferne Animal Sanctuary said: “We are so delighted that our animals at Ferne will be benefiting from this exciting event and want to thank Donna and Sarah for thinking of us. We wish them lots of luck organising such a great “doggy day”. It sounds as though it’s going to be a real fun day out for both the dogs and their owners and may even become an annual event.”

For more information or to have a trade stand at the event email or call Donna on 07856 589581. Entrance is by voluntary donation at the gate. Gates open at 10am, classes start at 11am.

We Need Volunteers!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary is making an urgent appeal for more volunteers to come forward to help across all areas of the charity, particularly in their retail shops.

The charity now has three shops in Chard, Bridport and recently opened Langport.

Amanda Thornton, Volunteer Co-ordinator said: “Ferne Animal Sanctuary relies on our dedicated team of volunteers, without whom we would not be able to care for the unwanted animals that find themselves here.

“We urgently need volunteers in all areas of the Sanctuary, especially in our charity shops based in Chard, Langport and Bridport. If you can spare a few hours a week and would like to be part of a friendly team we would be delighted to hear from you.

“Volunteering can be a very rewarding, worthwhile experience so please do contact me on 01460 65214 or email You don’t need have any previous experience – just a friendly personality with a passion for animal welfare.” “We also need volunteers at the Sanctuary, at Wambrook near Chard, to help in our new rehoming centre reception, the café and the finance department. In addition, we need help at all our events, particularly our community dog shows.

Yvette Dias, Manager of the Bridport, Dorset shop said: “Here at Ferne Animal Sanctuary Bridport, we are all a part of a valuable team, even down to our regular customers who love to chat and keep up on news about how certain animals are doing at the Sanctuary. They even bring their own dogs in to say ‘hello’.

“There is a diverse amount of work involved such as sorting books, DVD’s and CD’s and steaming clothes, operating the till and keeping the shop together. Our donations come in all shapes and sizes and it is always intriguing to see what you might find at the bottom of a bag or box!

“Sometimes a volunteer can be at the front of it all, helping and advising customers and then other times, can be behind the scenes processing donations – both equally important parts of volunteering.

“Every volunteer is really valued at Ferne Animal Sanctuary regardless of their abilities and talents; because everything they do will help the animals at the Sanctuary live a happy and full life.”