Grand turnout for horse rescue day

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DESPITE a little drizzle early in the morning, nearly one thousand visitors enjoyed Sunday’s open day at the Brownbread Horse Rescue Centre in Ashburnham.

The charity is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Patron of the charity, Brett MacLean, opened the event, which was followed by an arena display from Paraequestrian rider Emily Lawes with her horse Drizzle.

After each of Emily’s displays, children flocked to stroke the horse, which remained very quite and gentle despite all the attention.

On stage on the lawn, Bexhill-based singer Gwendolen Elias sang several popular songs, which acted as a taster for her forthcoming debut album in August.

Also performing on stage were the colourful Iceni Belly Dancers, who have been regulars at this fundraiser for many years.

A popular attraction was the Hunters Moon Morris from Eastbourne which not only enthralled the audience with their stick dancing but half of the group are also talented musicians, providing the music for the dancers.

Hunters Moon Morris are led by Pip, the ‘Bagman’ and the group made a substantial monetary donation to the charity’s funds on the day.

The dog show included both pedigree and novelty classes with Laura Edwards winning the Best Child Handler’s class with her dog, Woody. Marie Cowman with her dog Kurzon won with the Waggiest Tail class and Carol Foord with her dog Breeze won the fancy dress.

Arthur Mapletoft won the Best in Show with Sammy and Hayley Stippings won Best Veteran with her bitch, Miss Nellie.

Pedigree judge was June Sutton and novelty judge was Sonia Brasher, assisted by Brett MacLean.

Professional archer Adrian Caddy set up an archery corner which proved very popular as some of the targets were 3D dinosaurs.

Steve Rainton brought his birds of prey collection which included spectacular owls and other stalls included the Furry Friends rabbits under the control of Sue Horsman.

These trained rabbits are used for therapy in care homes.

Other stalls included Morag Hocking’s plant stall, Sussex Archaeologists and Sue Standivan’s stall in children’s corner.

The rescue centre’s groom, Wendy Cornwell, managed the pony rides assisted by a team of volunteers, Jackie, Leanne, Katie, Amy and elsewhere Michelle, from Herstmonceux Queens University, helped out with the raffle.

Angela Mitchell, Fern Plews and Louise Bush with her children served the teas and cakes and the Bexhill Lions cooked and served the burgers and hot dogs.

More than £2,700 was raised for the rescue centre on the day. The next Open Day will be on September 2, details from 01424 892381.