A FAMILY from Peopleton have ensured a Thai elephant can enjoy a peaceful retirement after rescuing the animal following a recent trip to Asia.

The Blaine family stumbled across 70-year-old Som Sri in Thailand when they went to the country to source goods for their fairtrade business Mahouts – meaning elephant keeper.

Sarah Blaine along with her husband, Worcester GP Felix and children Joe, aged 12, and Natasha, nine, raised money to have the dangerously thin elephant moved to the BLES sanctuary in Sukhothai, northern Thailand.

And last month Mrs Blaine returned to take part in the move.

“I travelled on February 3 and we rescued her the next day,”

said Mrs Blaine. “She was very thin. I know they had been looking after her but she was wasting away and very miserable.

When we arrived she knew something was happening.”

The group, including Mrs Blaine, then spent 12 hours moving Som Sri to her sanctuary home, where she will live out the rest of her days.

“We had a ceremony with flowers and fruit when Som Sri arrived at the BLES sanctuary,” said Mrs Blaine. Her whole presence changed as she arrived. One of the ladies said it was like she was living her whole life in one day.”

The family are now looking to continue their support of the BLES sanctuary.

Mrs Blaine added: “Hopefully we can change things and make life better for the mahouts and the elephants. We have had an amazing response from the article in the Journal. Patients have been coming in and donating money and people have stopped us when we have been walking the dog.”

Anyone who would like to support the Blaine family’s mission should visit mahouts.co.uk or blesele.org.