APPEAL: South Yorkshire charity won’t survive tough winter without help

Pictured is Mary Hepworth with Fergus the pony at Alberts Horse and Pony Sanctuary,South Lane,Cawthorne
Pictured is Mary Hepworth with Fergus the pony at Alberts Horse and Pony Sanctuary,South Lane,Cawthorne

A South Yorkshire animal charity has issued an urgent appeal for help - as winter closes in and threatens its future.

The family-run ‘Albert’s Horse Sanctuary,’ in Cawthorne, currently has 47 animals in its care, but with a £6,000 haylage bill already outstanding, and a large vet bill, the Hepworth family - which launched the charity in 2005 - fears it will not be able to afford to feed all the animals this winter.

Volunteers at Alberts Horse Sanctuary having to move hay by hand

Volunteers at Alberts Horse Sanctuary having to move hay by hand

“We’ve said before that we wouldn’t be able to make it through another winter without proper funding and staff, and here we are again,” said Mary, who admits she, her husband John and daughters Mary and Stacey have even gone without food themselves on occasion to ensure there is enough to feed the animals in their care.

“We have no choice but to just hope that we all survive it, but the older we get, the harder it’s becoming to carry on in the face of so much difficulty.”

The sanctuary is full to capacity and has long been struggling for funding. Mary, aged 60, says the number of horses being abandoned across South Yorkshire in recent years, due to tough economic times, has put added pressure on the family.

“Everything costs money and the cold weather makes it tough as the horses take more looking after.

“The harsh reality is that we are entirely self-funded and without the support of the public, there’s no way we can continue to do what we do. We need help.

“We’re not saints - it’s a tough commitment, but there’s no other choice. We love the animals very much and they deserve to be well looked after. It would just be really nice if we didn’t have to always worry about money. It is truly scary to think about the winter ahead.

“We’re just taking things day by day, but if you can afford to help us out even a little this winter, it would mean the world.”

Contact Mary on 07721 327879 or write to Albert’s Horse Sanctuary, South Lane, Cawthorne. Barnsley S75 4EF if you can help with a donation or by volunteering your time.