AN animal sanctuary which needs to raise £70,000 to stave off eviction has reached the halfway mark after five months of fund-raising.
The Farm Animal Sanctuary at Manor Orchard Farm, Middle Littleton, near Evesham, is not resting on its laurels, however.
Instead the sanctuary’s owner Jan Taylor is inviting supporters to a carol service and nativity on Saturday.
The event runs from 5.30pm in the barn with some of the animals – including Hosanna the donkey – and will include perfomances from local children.
There will also be Christmas gifts, a raffle and tombola along with refreshments.
Tickets are £1 for adults and no charge for under-10s.
In September, sanctuary supporter and actress Joanna Lumley launched the ‘Mile of Gold’ appeal to help raise the money needed to buy the land that the sanctuary currently rents.
It follows an 11th hour reprieve in June, after eviction proceedings were launched by the land’s owner to have Ms Taylor evicted.
The owner said the sanctuary was only granted use of the plot on a temporary basis, but after a change of heart offered Ms Taylor the chance to buy the land.
“We’ve got about £35,000 raised by fund-raising and donations,” said Ms Taylor.
“When there’s a matter like the threat of eviction it does something to people. The people of the Vale have been absolutely brilliant.
“They are still pushing envelopes through the door.”
A signed copy of Joanna Lumley’s latest book Absolutely: A Memoir will also be on sale at Saturday’s event.
The actress has been a patron of the charity since it formed, and has known Ms Taylor for 22 years, ever since she met her while researching a feature on animal welfare for The News of The World.