The Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary Summer Fete has been hailed as the best one yet, attracting thousands of visitors and raising close to £13,000 in just one afternoon.
The annual event is the local charity’s main fundraiser and with wall to wall sunshine adults and children turned out in their hundreds to show their support and have a fun day out at the Sanctuary’s stunning setting, located at Freezeland Lane, Sidley.
Months of hard work by the Sanctuary’s owner, Barby Keel, family, friends, staff and volunteers of all ages, ensured that the event went with a bang, and there was plenty to keep everyone entertained.
Along with the opportunity to get close up and personal with the dozens of animals and birds cared for at the sanctuary, a range of fun games and face-painting, kept children entertained whilst a plethora of stalls, selling everything from gardening equipment, pictures, bric-a-brac, clothes, furniture, records, a raffle, tombola’s, Tarot readings by Samvadas Swift and refreshments ensured generous adults dug deep.
Entertainment was provided by melodeon Chris Netalle whose music had youngsters dancing a merry jig.
Founded in 1971, the sanctuary provides a refuge for lost or rejected animals and fowl and tries to find them permanent loving homes when possible.
Any that cannot be re-homed are given a permanent home at the sanctuary.
Self-funding, the charity relies on the generosity of others, and Barby says the Summer Fete is a life-line to keeping the sanctuary going.
“We are all really so pleased so many people supported the fete,” she said.
“It was the best year ever and £12,800 was raised.”
Barby says a large chunk of the money, around £7-£8,000, will guarantee hay and straw for the next year and the rest will be spent on new fencing for the horses field.
“If we didn’t hold the Summer Fete we wouldn’t be able to do it,” she said.
“Punters are essential and this year around 300 more people came through the gate.
“They can see the work that we do here and a lot of first time visitors said they’d had a super day and we received an unbelievable amount of compliments.”
Barby thanked her ‘motley crew’ for all their hard work, Chris Netalle, Carina for the loan of the field to use as a car park, for all the donations and to everyone who helped and supported the event.
“It was a wonderful day,” she said: “Absolutely fantastic!”
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