‘Heartbreak’ after vandal attack on South Downs animal sanctuary

Volunteers at a South Downs animal sanctuary have been left ‘heartbroken’ after a vandal attack.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 10:20 am

The ABC animal sanctuary in West Chiltington - set up by the late actress Alexandra Bastedo - has been gearing up for a major fundraising event this weekend.

But signs advertising the event - a ‘September Spectacular’ - have been destroyed, thrown or taken away from where they were sited in the village and surrounding areas.

A sanctuary spokeswoman said: “This is the first event we have been able to have since the beginning of the pandemic and we are heartbroken that this is happening to us.”

One of the vandalised signs advertising the ABC Animal Sanctuary's special fundraiser

The sanctuary cares for a range of abandoned or unwanted animals including sheep, cats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks and goats and provides them with a safe place to live.

Trustee Cheryl Tofield-Cook said: ”Like everyone else, we have had a hard year and we are trying to raise some money for our animals. Advertising is really important to us.”

She said she did not think children were responsible for the vandalism. “I don’t think it was kids. I think it was deliberate. There is no foot traffic where the signs are, they are on roads. You would have to have a car to get to them.

“Someone has deliberately sabotaged our signs for whatever reason.

“To think this happened is quite upsetting. It is heartbreaking.”

It costs the sanctuary around £80,000 a year to look after the animals and it relies on volunteers, fundraising, sponsorship and donations.

“We’re working hard to maintain everything,” said Cheryl.

The September Spectacular is a two-day event on Saturday (September 4) and Sunday from 11.30am to 4.30 pm on both days.

There will be live music, an array of country craft stalls, food stalls, an animal parade, refreshments and a bar.

Entry is £5 per person, accompanied under 14s free, along with well-behaved dogs on leads.

The ABC Sanctuary is at Southlands Lane, West Chiltington, RH20 2JU,