Rebuild New Hope Farm Sanctuary

£4,445 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 151 people in 16 months
*EDIT*  As of May 2018: We have been lucky enough to find a new premises in Leicestershire offered on a renovation lease. 14 acres of land and several stable blocks for the animals and a derelict cottage to repair.
This fundraiser has been changed from 'SAVE' New Hope to 'REBUILD' New Hope as a result.
We are now at liberty to tell our full story.

We are currently living in static caravans but we brought every last one of our residents with us and NO ONE was left behind. It's been cold, bitterly cold, it's been (and continues to be) extremely hard work,  with no fencing, no enclosures or any real facilities but we are here and all our charges are safe. I can honestly say we have never been more exhausted and we have never been so overwhelmed by events BUT we are not going to give up and we WILL build a bigger and better Sanctuary.

We are also in a position to tell you all the details of what we have been through and recent events which show without doubt why we were evicted and had to relocate so suddenly and so far away. 

Please read the full story below: this is the original fundraiser for New Hope with my edits added in about the things we couldn't talk about before.

We currently have 81 residents. There is a dove and a Mumma chicken with 2 littles babies living in our bathroom. Our 2 dogs curl up with our ex commercial chickies and Tabitha the Tabby Cat - thrown from a moving car, literally dumped on our doorstep - is now friends with Nala the lionhead rabbit. We have a rooster who thinks he's a duck and a duck who thinks he is her boyfriend. We have ponies who have made friends with the cows next door.....

They have all taught me more than I can ever begin to describe - about trust, about acceptance, about family, loyalty.... about love and loss.

There are a lot of tears make no mistake but there is a lot of joy and wonder too.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.....................

We have just been given 8 weeks notice to leave our property with no forewarning and completely out of the blue. This was just after assurances this would not happen in the short term and the fact we have invested a lot of our own money and effort in a property we were told would be our home for at least the next 14 years.

We are trying to raise enough funds to move us and all the sanctuary animals. There is a small window of opportunity - a possible place to move to with enough land but we have only managed to scrape together £6,000 ourselves. We need a large deposit,  six months' rent up front plus all the costs of moving 84 animals and building appropriate enclosures on site when we get there.

We can't do this alone - please read the full story below.

We moved to Suffolk in 2015 and it's fair to say it hasn't been the easiest few years. The one continual bright light was being able to rent this beautiful space - this house, grounds and land, and not just have our 2 rescued Exmoor ponies outside but finally have the smallholding we had always longed for........ Trouble is it didn't really stay a smallholding and in that first year we ended up rescuing 2 more ponies from dire situations and giving sanctuary to several dumped or unwanted pets, poultry and waterfowl including some with extra needs. 

Donald duck with his broken feet, Emma with her broken leg, Diesel duck with his dodgy hips and wet feather, Harold the scrappy, scruffy little cockerel riddled with mites. Misty our beautiful Appaloosa cross with the broken rib and blind eye, Tabitha the Tabby cat, no collar, no chip, skinned paws as if thrown out of a moving vehicle.... dumped literally on our doorstep.... 2 beautiful dogs courtesy of the RSPCA.

From the elderly guinea pigs to Timmy Twelvebellies, the bunny who needed extensive dental surgery, we have done our best to care and love every one of the animals that comes through our door and this year the decision was made to make New Hope Farm a Charitable Company and it has now been incorporated as New Hope Farm Sanctuary Ltd. The company's goals are to provide permanent sanctuary to the rescue animals already in residence and raise funds to improve facilities to hopefully provide sanctuary and rehabilitation for more unwanted pets and livestock in the future.

We had plans for vintage caravans onsite for people to stay, visit the animals, have experience days and residential craft courses.........

But the road hasn't been easy, we had only been here a few months when Rob suffered an industrial accident at work, when an external engineer allowed chlorine gas to fill the basement he was working in. Rob was left with permanent lung damage and 20% disabled and it ended his paid employment as a builder / engineer / maintenance manager. Financially, this had a massive impact but we ploughed on with our Jewellery + Design Studio and Rob started to learn how to work with silver instead of engineering works. We had many tragedies along the way, many battles - personal and otherwise and some very dark days but we still got married on October 28th 2016 surrounded by our family and friends grabbing a few short hours away from the Farm.

In May this year, it became apparent the stresses of the previous 2 years had affected Rob seriously. Burdened with the frustration that neither his former employer nor the engineering company had still admitted any responsibility for the accident and memories of the incident triggering memories of previous time with the Forces, Rob struggled to sleep. Our finances were in a dire situation and although there is a compensation claim pending, over 2 years since the accident this had not seen the inside of a court room (and still hasn't) and until someone admits liability no interim payment can even be requested.

Rob's health declined.

Over a week he experienced several episodes of chest pain which at first the GP dismissed until on the morning of Monday May 29th it became apparent that an ambulance was very urgently required. Rob had 5 heart attacks that week and had an emergency transfer to Papworth hospital. He was released after a week, with no coronary disease found, on huge amounts of blood thinners etc to eliminate any further clots and the diagnosis that the primary cause was almost certainly stress.

We focussed on our animals who are often an inspiration for the jewellery and giftware we make and with Rob making a slow but steady recovery, we thought we were over the worst and that maybe forming the Sanctuary would lead to better and brighter things. We opened our doors to B + B guests and proved a hit with our initial customers. Encouraged by our appeal to a more enlightened generation and other animal lovers, we made excited plans to get the Farm and our business back on track. We thought we had turned a corner, that we could work our way out of the difficult and dark place we had fallen into.....

We were wrong.

On September 13th 2017 there was an incident that I can't discuss as there is a criminal trial pending in April 2018. All I can say is that one of our neighbours was charged with 3 criminal charges, one of which he pleaded guilty to. Rob collapsed with another suspected heart attack that day and I lost more than I can possibly describe.

We had 2 dogs both from the RSPCA - Shady a 3 year old Mastiff Cross and Coco a Staffy type Cross possibly Mastiff, who was nearly 5 - he was a gentle giant, she was a much smaller dog previously used in a puppy farm and almost bred to death when the RSPCA seized her - at only 2 years old. They were used to all our animals - ponies, chickens, cats, rabbits etc and aside from Shady, Coco's best friend was our little Siamese Boo.

It was 3.30pm when I looked out of the window to see next door's dog forcing his way through the hedge that separated our 2 gardens - he had obviously dislodged part of the barricade we had erected to prevent this, and is an aggressive terrier whose owners made no attempt to repair the gaps in the boundary and who had previously told me their dog would kill my dog! So of course, WE repaired, and repaired the hedgeline, blocking gaps with metal sheeting but it was right at the end, on a bend that was the weak point and they never replaced their corroded and broken chainlink that bridged this gap.  However we tried to block it, their dog, Ted, would routinely bark and snarl and scrabble and dig at this point but it was only when I saw his face through the hedge that day, that I realised he had managed to create a gap despite our best efforts.

Usually Shady would be aware when Ted went for the hedge and would stand guard barking and not allowing Coco anywhere near. Shady always realised the threat whereas Coco only ever saw a small dog, maybe even a puppy, that sounded distressed who maybe needed a Mummy..... she would wag and whine to go play but Shady would stand guard and chase her away from the hedge. That day Shady was distracted and Coco got there first. She wriggled through the gap - she wasn't a big dog herself. I heard her cry out and I heard the neighbour, the old man yell 'get my gun'.

All of us ran round but Coco wasn't in his garden - I breathed a sigh of relief - I was behind the gardens calling for her when the gun shot went off in my left ear, I ran back to find our girl sobbing on their lawn crying 'you didn't have to shoot her'. I started screaming, my son grabbed me shouting 'Mum calm down he's going to shoot someone!' The fear in his eyes still haunts me.... I turned to see Rob walking towards the neighbour, the old man, and then Rob collapsed. He was unconscious on the ground.... I started screaming for an ambulance - it was another heart attack.

In everything that followed these things are clear: we saw their dog Ted, he was fine. I did not see Coco's body as I expected when I screamed, I was relieved I thought maybe Ted bit her and the shot just scared her away.  The old man threatened to shoot my husband, my girl and myson while still holding a loaded shotgun, at which point Rob collapsed.  After Rob collapsed the old man calmly went back to cutting his grass with my husband still unconscious on the ground. The old lady refused to call an ambulance. 

We were all in front of that gun when it was fired - Rob, me and my son. IF he had been panicking, IF he had been shooting wildly, IF he had missed it would have been me that was shot. I wish it had been.

There was an armed response when the emergency services heard about the gun. The road cordoned off, helicopter the whole nine yards.....
It took what seemed like a lifetime - no ambulance could attend an unsecured scene and I was terrified I would lose Rob as I administered shot after shot of GTN. The old lady told armed response not to be so silly and to go away...... all the while the old man kept cutting his grass. My son ended up carrying my husband out flanked by 2 armed response officers.....

The old man was arrested but after that both my son and I were individually threatened by the old couple's son and the witch hunt in the village commenced. Rob was released from hospital after 12 hours observation - he was referred to the Serious Chest Pain Clinic and has subsequently been diagnosed with Severe Stress Induced Cardiac Arterial Spasm. He was of course, after his previous episodes earlier in the year already on a huge amount of blood thinners, statins, aspirin and other meds. Without these that day could have ended very differently. He is now on permanent GTN. We were villified on the local Facebook page - accusations that the old couple had been 'beaten up' by 2 young lads that our dog had nearly killed theirs, that Rob faked his collapse......... even our Landlord's wife joined in...... now of course that fact seems more pertinent than it did then.

We found Coco's body 24 hours later, inches outside our garden stock fence, suspended upside down in thick, thick brambles which ripped me to shreds when I went to bring her home. She had been shot through the head. 
I photographed her in situ before moving her and SOCO came to photograph her body and then my girl and I buried her in the garden after Shady had had a chance to say goodbye. He grieved for weeks after. We all did. Especially our little siamese. It was only getting the new puppy Gypsy that gave Shady back his zest for life and they are now inseparable although Boo still looks for her even now - the puppy is still too wriggly and does not make such a comfortable pillow.....

Initially the old man was charged and bailed to a bail address and was not allowed home but at the second plea hearing in October he applied for a change in the bail conditions and was ALLOWED HOME. Because of the continued threats against us, the police had already installed a panic alarm in our house and did regular visits.  They were incredibly supportive but it was possibly the worst time of my life - the fear, the grief the sheer incomprehension at what had happened were overwhelming.

A few days later I had what I can only describe as some sort of breakdown and for the first time in my life ended up taking prescription drugs for anxiety and the severe panic attacks I was experiencing.

We often describe our family as the 'War Machine' - battle damaged and scarred but still rumbling on. For the first time ever the War Machine was halted in its tracks.

But I have never given up on anything and I wasn't about to start then.

In fact our Landlord released our security deposit on the property - his agent told us this was a gesture of good will as he fully understood what a dreadful time we had been through and that we were good tenants who had easily increased the value of the farm by at least the amount of the deposit with all our repairs and renovations. She completely understood Rob's concerns about accepting this money back but assured him there were no sinister motives, we certainly would not be losing our home and that she understood his concerns about further stress, triggering further hearts attacks and also the effect of recent events on my health.

Bouyed by these additional funds we redoubled efforts to improve the place, made further plans for the Charitable Company and for new products to make in our design studio, we bought a vintage caravan to restore to house future guests.......

And we went to Wood Green Animal Rehoming Centre and adopted an 8 week old puppy to keep our other dog company as he was pining so desperately for his friend and constant companion who he had just tragically lost.

Things finally looked like they were on the up even with the trauma of a criminal trial looming, in which we were all key witnesses and required to testify.

On Saturday 11th November Rob pulled out a letter from our box which caused him to collapse almost as soon as he started reading it.

It was from our Landlord's solicitors giving us 2 months notice to evict.

No reasons were given.

*EDIT* in what followed, the frantic, pleading conversations with our Landlord's agent she told us we should think ourselves lucky as our Landlord had originally planned to give us notice a month earlier but was advised giving us an eviction date only days before Christmas might seem a little harsh..... 
So we were originally going to be given notice at the beginning of October. Even though he knew he would be giving us notice a month later he didn't  just give us the extra month which would have given us more, much needed time to find somewhere...... no..... he just kept quiet for a month and gave us the basic 8 weeks......

Beginning of October..... that would be when the neighbour applied for a change in his bail conditions to be allowed BACK HOME. Which was granted.... despite protestations from the Police..........
When this was pointed out to the agent she merely said our eviction had nothing to do with that.....
Just a coincidence then.... after all the neighbour and our Landlord only grew up next door to each other and have been lifelong friends.....

It was also this time when the neighbours got our Landlord to raise the dividing wall between the 2 properties and added 3 foot of corrugated iron to the wall that divided the courtyard. We felt suddenly like we were in some sort of prison, like the Berlin Wall had been erected in our garden. All of this without prior notice, consent -  oh and they also wanted to paint our kitchen window black as it looked out on their half of the courtyard. Luckily I had already covered it in opaque privacy film - not like we wanted to look at them every day. So instead of losing all the light to the rear of the house we just had to suffer the indignity of our Landlord's maintenance man taking photos from the inside of our kitchen to prove to the neighbours we couldn't see them....... and I thought it was next door who had been charged with criminal offences.....

I cannot even begin to describe the fear, panic and lack of comprehension this letter caused...........

We are in an impossible situation. 

We need to find a private rental property with enough land for the ponies and other animals, that allows inside pets and is okay with us running a business from the premises. We also need to fund moving all 84 animals when all we have at the moment is one horse box and a towing vehicle that is probably not going to make it through it's MOT at the end of the month.

All in basically 8 weeks.

With Christmas in the middle of it.

We have BEGGED the Landlord and his solicitors for an extension if only for the sake of Rob's health but to no avail - we have not even been given the courtesy of a reply.

We have found a possible place and have been shortlisted but need the following. I'm not going to lie our credit rating sucks after the last 2 years and with Rob's health problems and me working for myself, so we need more capital upfront to reassure any potential Landlord.

If this place falls through, then from our research, it seems similar costs, if not higher ones (if we are forced to move much further away) will still apply.

£3,750 deposit (a quarter's rent)
£7,500 six months rent upfront
Moving costs, including a livestock trailer and repairs / replacement for our towing vehicle, I estimate £2,500
Materials + help to erect appropriate enclosures and fencing to keep all the animals safe in any new premises, I estimate £1,250

This gives us a total of £15,000 of which we have managed to scrape together £6,000 ourselves.

We need to raise this as soon as possible.

I am not used to asking for anything but we are on our knees. I have to honour my promise to my family and my animals to look after and protect them but this time I just can't do it by myself, time is running out and I need help.

Please donate to ensure New Hope Farm Sanctuary and the animals still have a home this Christmas.


We were not ready to move by the 19th of January. We only viewed the renovation project less than a week before Christmas 2017. We told the agent the earliest we could sign paperwork and leave their premises was the 9th of February. Only after me threatening to sue the Landlord for personal injury and harassment, pointing out we weren't saying we wouldn't leave just that we couldn't before this date, did they very grudgingly allow the extra 20 days without initiating legal proceedings......

I left Suffolk on the 6th February 2018, but despite the best efforts of a small gang of very dear friends we just could not physically move everything in time. With very limited funds - our original fundraiser on here raised £3429 out of a goal of £10,000, and borrowing from friends, family and selling everything we could still didn't provide enough to hire movers etc - we left furniture, machinery, fencing, enclosures, houses etc etc behind...

But every living breathing one of us made it safely.

I made a promise that no one would get left behind and that included someone else. My daughter is 15, although wiser and mature beyond those short years.... damn sight more grown up than me a lot of the time.
She told me we couldn't leave her dog behind, that she couldn't bear to leave her body buried next to the people who murdered her. I felt the same. She insisted on helping me - we didn't even tell Rob. With his health and everything he had been through I couldn't risk  making him worse and he was not physically or emotionally strong enough to cope with what we did early one morning just before I left Suffolk. I made her turn or walk away at times but with my child I exhumed my Coco, my sweet girl and put her in a body bag and I drove her to Leicestershire where we re interred her in what will be our Remembrance garden for all those that have crossed the Bridge. At least we feel she is still with us. It is not something I ever imagined I would have to do and some people will never understand why but to us it felt wrong to leave her and although my last memories of her are forever tainted we feel she is at peace here.

My heart still hurts. I will never get over it and I still grieve.

The effort involved in just taking care of everybody as temperatures plummeted and we faced thick snow was no mean feat. The move had already taken it's toll on Rob and his lungs were so bad as a result his constant coughing tore muscles in his side. At first the pain was so severe we were worried it was a hernia. His initial industrial accident with it's very real threat to life had triggered memories of a previous lifetime for Rob. Memories of when he was an embedded engineer working with the armed forces. It brought back traumatic memories of working on the front line and over the last few years Kuwait in particular has never been very far away, especially in his dreams. After what happened in September with the firearm involved, it was confirmed that Rob was suffering from PTSD and all his meds were upped and he was put on stronger steroids for his breathing.

And of course all we were really doing was treading water waiting for the 3rd of April, waiting for the Trial.

On April 9th a jury found the neighbour not guilty on either charge, not guilty of Criminal Damage and not guilty of Affray It was the biggest shock of my life.

There is no justice and as my daughter and I drove home that day from the Court I honestly did not see how I could carry on.

The Police - the CID officer in charge of the case described the jury as 'not having a brain cell amongst them', the CPS were dismayed. No one could believe the verdict. As the DC said - in 15 years, his whole career he has NEVER put a case in front of a jury and had that happen. But that is no comfort to us.

We have been branded liars, Coco some sort of devil dog and there are no consequences for the neighbour, no consequences for any of them that libelled us, threatened us.....  we lost everything and it was all for nothing not even justice was ours......

There are a few things I want people to know about the trial:
1) His defence seemed surprised that all 4 prosecution witnesses turned up. Within minutes a deal had been offered to the CPS where he was willing to plead guilty to the Criminal Damage if they dropped the Affray charge. CPS and CID did not think this was enough as no custodial sentence was likely to be awarded. They refused and we agreed with that decision. This happened before the jury was sworn in so they NEVER KNEW this had happened.

2) Rob blames himself. The PTSD has mixed up numbers in his head - he can tell you what happened but not necessarily the date it did. He couldn't remember when we got Coco and got the date wrong. He feels it affected his testimony in the eyes of the jury and they didn't believe him because of it. He feels he failed our sweet girl.

3) The defence barrister was agressive in the extreme. The main defence was that as a family we were all liars and our dog was at fault. Even my son left the court in tears. The jury did not hear all the evidence - for example I was never asked to detail how Coco got into the next door garden and it was not at any point made clear their dog had broken through our barricade making a gap that Coco immediately went to investigate and wriggled through. We are not talking about jumping a 5 foot hedge - we are talking about squeezing through a gap in the hedge maybe 18 inches off the ground.

4) The Judge basically summed up for the defence. 
He often tried to shut down my testimony - eg. when I was saying the neighbour went back to cutting his grass. At no point was my telephone conversation with the emergency services even submitted to the court which would have backed up this statement. If someone had been so threatened by a neighbour's dog that they shot her, if that dog had ripped the throat out of their dog then why the hell was he just cutting his grass... and not getting the dog to a vet?? calling the police?? The Judge dismissed the jury's questions about whether Rob knew about guns and bullet wounds and refused to give them that information and he cut off as 'irrelevant' my testimony about an incident 2 years previously when the same neighbour had threatened to shoot both me and Coco. 

5) Neither was I ever questioned about how I found her or her injuries. For her to be facing him when he shot her as he claimed in his statement to the police, Coco would have had to be lying completely the other way round or he would have had to be in our garden when he shot her. The entry wound was just behind her right ear the exit wound just below her left eye. She was jumping away from him, hence why she fell back when shot and was suspended upside down in the brambles, her head closest to where he was standing when he shot her. She was not in their garden she was behind it deep in the undergrowth, desperately trying to jump back into our garden.

6) NEITHER of the old couple took the stand - as the DC commented, the old man obviously had a short fuse and no doubt would have convicted himself inside a few minutes.... but of course this meant no opportunity to question or cross examine his statement - which was merely read out in Court.....

7) The Vet Report. This came as a complete shock to us. We had all seen their dog moments after Coco was shot dead and he was fine. There were no injuries. Neither any of us nor the armed response officers, CID, the other police officers or the ambulance crews that attended saw any evidence of a dog attack. No blood, no injuries and also at NO POINT did either of the old couple tell ANYONE that our dog had attacked their dog, or that their dog needed a vet....................

At no point in the summation did the Judge point out the Police did not find the neighbour's dog bleeding out on the lawn and that no vet was ever requested. At no point was it underlined that the old lady merely told Armed Response that 'they could shoot a dog if they wanted to' and 'not to be so silly - just go away' and that the old man just went back to cutting his grass like nothing had happened, telling the Police 'they should have better things to do than bother him - like catching terrorists..'

No mention of a vet being needed was ever mentioned:
Until AFTER the old man had been arrested and held overnight. And then the NEXT DAY their dog was apparently taken to a vet with "an 8 inch long gaping wound to the throat, which exposed both jugular veins and the back of the neck was visible. He was bleeding profusely and seemed to be in shock". The next day...... the alleged attack happened at 3.30 pm the previous day and you are trying to tell me that dog survived until the next day with that injury?? Even if I didn't KNOW it wasn't Coco because of what I saw that alone would make me suspicious. The police were so dismissive of this report they didn't think it was a problem as they couldn't see how anyone would believe it. BUT the date of the report NEVER came up in Court, the Judge never mentioned it in summary and neither was there any statement by the vet themselves to question whether this injury was consistent with a dog attack nearly 24 hours previously and not as I truly believe: the desperate attempt to provide an old man with a defence for his actions after he had been charged with 2 serious criminal offences. Someone hurt that dog and it wasn't Coco. The injury sounds more like someone grabbed that dog's throat pulled its skin away from its jugular and sliced it ear to ear.......
I guess it was easier for the jury to believe we were all lying than even entertain the idea that anyone would be capable of doing this to a pet.

8) There was one person that testified - as the old man's character witness. And that would be the man who evicted us, our ex landlord......... but that eviction had nothing to do with what happened right??!!

Now he has been found not guilty we have been advised there is little we can do and there is not even any hope from mounting a civil case - even if we could afford it.
Rob in particular did not take this news well and we are all heartbroken and frustrated that it has ended like this. Not even the Police can understand how this happened, I just hope power and money and privilege didn't somehow influence justice being done because it certainly wasn't.

We know there has been a serious miscarriage of justice. I don't believe any of this would have happened if Coco hadn't been a bull breed cross and had been a retriever instead. We had the opportunity to tell our story to the media and maybe change perceptions of bull breed 'types' like my Coco but that all vanished in the mistaken verdict of a blinkered jury. I had been offered enough that we could have rebuilt the stables, built our bespoke aviary and maybe even put a little towards our own accomodation or at least to renovate the workshop to provide a new Studio and teaching space - instead we were left with less than nothing and I had to watch my daughter's faith in the legal system, in truth, in justice, in right and wrong evaporate before me leaving bitterness and cynicism. I wanted to give up.

BUT I can't. I have an 8 month old bull breed cross who alongside my beautiful boy Shady needs me to defend people's perceptions of them, she needs me to teach her how to be the best of dogs, how to grow up to be like my Shadow - a gentle giant, a sweet boy and guardian of anything small and fluffy.

I have a Sanctuary to rebuild in my girl's memory and I have my family to look after.

We are continuing to fund raise. At the moment everyone is housed in stable blocks - some in better repair than others and there are also derelict outbuildings that need rebuilding or replacing. With current DEFRA restrictions due to Avian Flu all birds should be enclosed with at least food and water under cover. To permanently protect our birds but offer them the best quality of life we have drawn up plans for a huge subdivided aviary - permanently covered but allowing our birds access to the outside, the sun and the ability to scratch around in the earth. Especially our ducks are not happy with the enclosed quarters at the moment and we are seeing several of the girls struggling with the breeding season and egg laying, needing extra care and nutritional support. They want to be able to dabble about outside again.

The £25,00 represents the capital investment we need to put in over the next 2 years to rebuild this place and create a beautiful Sanctuary for us all.  The aviary alone will cost just shy of £5000 to have made, delivered and erected. And this £25K only represents the material costs and specialist sub contractors  and not the cost of labour - which would over double this amount. We will of course being doing the bulk of the work ourselves - most of it falling to me, my son and when she's finished her GCSEs my daughter who is a dab hand at driving a mini digger!! I have already completed over 200m of stock - each post having to be set by hand using a manual post ram. Who needs the gym eh?!

I continue crafting jewellery - mostly with an animal theme to help support us and I am over 20K words into my Tale of Timmy Twelvebellies, a reluctant rabbit hero.
Rob's industrial accident has finally after 3 and a half years been given a trial 'window' and will apparently be heard later this year but after the last one we hold out no real hope for justice or any sort of compensation.

 In the mean time if anyone would like to contribute in any small way we need every last penny. But whatever it takes, we won't give up, the war machine will keep rumbling on and we will continue to love and care for all those that need us.

With the deepest thanks to all of you who have supported us to date and who continue to hold us in your thoughts.

all the best Mel and Rob and all the animals at New Hope Farm Sanctuary

"shoot all the bluejays you want.... if you can hit 'em - but remember it's still a sin to kill a mockingbird...."

Harper Lee "To Kill A Mockingbird"

For Coco. For our Mockingbird.
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We will carry on our Sanctuary to honour the memory of a sweet gentle soul who was brutally ripped from our lives far too soon, through no fault of her own.

Coco had been badly treated, abused and neglected by humans and yet was still man's best friend. She accepted every creature we brought into her home as her friend, as something to protect and care for. She never judged and whether they were kittens or ducklings they were all treated with the same gentleness and love by this special girl. She was an example to us all.

We will carry on and do our utmost to build something positive out of all this sadness and adversity. For all the animals like Coco who didn't get a second chance, who never got saved we will build a bigger and better Sanctuary so we can offer a forever home to those who really need it.

The day we brought Coco home
With her best friend Boo
And with Shady
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The property available on a renovation lease, on Belvoir Castle Estate is now ours and we just need to wait for all the legals to be drawn up and signed and the deposit paid before we can start moving everyone onsite. There is a total of 14 acres and though the house is derelict and we will be living in statics until basic renovations are completed there are plenty of stables and sheds for the ponies and poultry! And of course lots of grazing for all and running around room for the pups!!

There are plenty of outbuildings to convert into workshop space or housing and plenty of space for all our current residents and potential to house further rescues in the future.

It is a huge relief but we still need funds to cover moving costs and put towards building a bigger and better New Hope Sanctuary. This includes a lot of fencing to keep everyone secure which is one of the very first jobs on the list!

Please continue to share the fundraiser - we will be posting lots of pics and some vids of the Great Exodus to Leicestershire - as that is where we will now be based.... I'm looking forward to Rob convincing Smithy he needs to get in the horse box ;)

Thank you all for your continued support - we couldn't have done it without you!!
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Well the New Year finds us still in a state of uncertainty. The property we were going to the final interview for, draft contract already drawn up, was yanked from us absolutely last minute when the owner 'changed her mind' about renting it and moved back in herself.

As you can imagine this was incredibly frustrating and threw us into a blind panic the last few weeks desperately trying to find an alternative.

Just before Christmas we found a property available on a 'renovation lease' - rent free for the first year if we can show funds available and the ability to restore the place. It comes with 14 acres and no restrictions on any animals (as well as 17 stables) - giving us plenty of room for everyone and the opportunity to produce our own hay on some of the acreage which would vastly reduce our outgoings.

We submitted a draft proposals and outlined our financials and the agent has put us forward to meet the landlord on January 10th. This is a wonderful opportunity with a fixed term of 5 years for the full renovation, each year's rent dependent on the amount of investment we put into the place. With Rob's maintenance/ builder and project manager background, our family's combined strengths and my land management experience this seems like a perfect opportunity for us and one that can offer some much needed security and stability for the Sanctuary.

Please keep sharing, we need funds more than ever as we need to prove we have a capital sum of at least £15,000 up front of which we only currently have £10,500 despite our best efforts.

The Sanctuary's work continues regardless of the current situation and we continue to care for all the animals. Even today we had to take Donald to our wonderful avian vet with concerns he had a respiratory infection. The X Ray confirmed pneumonia and despite the generous gesture of a half price consultation the X Ray and necessary meds still dip into crucial funds.

Please keep everything crossed for a full recovery for Donald - he is such a wonderful old man, he chaperoned the baby geese last year and then took over the raising of the duck army when they were big enough to go outside. He's such a character, and was so good at the vet just standing and letting them take the X Ray. He is currently on antibiotics and we are nebulising him twice a day. He is very close to everyone's hearts and we have plans to build him a proper pond with a ramp when we move so praying for him to make a full recovery - come on Donald!!
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UPDATE: we have a third and final interview at the potential property on Saturday. As far as the Landlord and Agent are concerned, they are happy with us as potential tenants but the land is actually owned by the Landlord's daughter so she needs to have the final say. If she likes us then things look good! This makes it all the more imperative that we have funds in place to be able to pay the deposit and 6 months rent up front. At the moment we are still over £2000 short of this plus the sudden added complication of our only towing vehicle romping through the MOT, only to have the engine terminally seize only days later. Please share - we are selling everything that isn't nailed down but I just can't do this alone .
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£4,445 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 151 people in 16 months
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Jo Hulme
3 months ago
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Caroline Cottrell
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4 months ago
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4 months ago
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