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Pandemic-stricken Sheep Ahoy charity near Canterbury pleas for help

An animal rescue charity is pleading for support amid fears its livestock could starve.

Donations have dried up over recent weeks for the Sheep Ahoy rescue centre near Canterbury, which cares for about 60 of the animals.

Julia Whilmhurst runs Sheep Ahoy
Julia Whilmhurst runs Sheep Ahoy

The situation has become so dire, volunteer Natasha Bizarra, 42, is pleading for donations of fruit, vegetables and hay to feed the sheep.

“Usually we would get donations put in our food donation bins in Guilton but we haven’t received anything," she said.

“If we don’t get the donations, the sheep won’t be able to eat.

“Last year we would have had about seven open days but we’ve only been able to have one, they are one of our main forms of income."

Numerous Kent charities - including the Hoo zoo - have appealed for support during the coronavirus outbreak so they can continue to function.

Sheep Ahoy, the latest charity to find itself on the edge, says hay alone costs about £700 a month.

The charity says any kind of donation will help
The charity says any kind of donation will help

And most vegetables are welcome, although sheep can’t eat potatoes, onions, leek, avocado, rhubarb.

“It’s mainly things like leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, fruit, that kind of thing that they can eat - and these sheep really like biscuits,” Ms Bizarra added.

The small not-for-profit is run by Julia Whilmhurst and currently has 11 volunteers on its books.

“Luckily we’ve been able to keep on going throughout the pandemic because we can go out to tend the sheep individually.

“It may sound silly but we eat, breathe and sleep sheep,” she added.

Ms Bizarra told of her frustration when the term is thrown around in a derogatory fashion because, for her, sheep very much have their own personalities.

“Sheep don’t actually follow each around. They make best friends in their group and can recognise up to more than 100 human faces.

“We’ve got Elvis who we call The Inspector, he’s always in your pockets and Peter who will put his hoof on you if he wants attention, like a cat,” she said.

The charity says any kind of donation will help
The charity says any kind of donation will help

“They’ve all very much got their own personalities.”

Donations can be made by leaving food on the path at 3 Guilton Cottages in Durlock Road, Ash andvia sheepahoy.org. Volunteers can also pick up locally.

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