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A small equine charity is hosting a spring ball in order to raise much-needed funds for their horses.

Registered charity Equine Market Watch (EMW) Sanctuaries UK has suffered heavily from the credit crunch.

And staff are hoping to generate about £4,000 at the event — which will cover the costs of annual hay/haylage making.

Elaine Tasker from EMW Sanctuaries UK said: “This is our main fundraiser but ticket sales have been so low this year. And in this economic downturn it’ll be hard to run without the funds raised at it.”

The sanctuaries are dedicated to monitoring the welfare of horses in markets, auctions and horse fairs across the UK. Volunteers who attend the markets especially focus on older horses and bottom-of-the-market animals who go for little or no money at the end of the day.

The charity also works closely with Horsewatch UK, The Stolen Horse Register and other welfare agencies to look out for stolen horses and possible scams.

EMW started 15 years ago and now has two permanent sanctuaries — in Herefordshire and Powys. There are 15 equines in Powys and 12 in the Herefordshire centre.

Elaine added: “We rehome as many horses as we can and have a maximum capacity of 15 per centre so we can give each horse proper one-to-one care. We have everything from ex-racehorses to Shetland ponies and our oldest resident is 44!”

The ball is to be held on Saturday 28 March?? at Oakwood House in Maidstone and will feature a Robbie Williams tribute act, a disco and buffet.

There will also be a grand prize auction — in which lots include a covering by Arab stallion Tobago, holidays and a balloon flight.

And EMW has found a new patron, journalist Liz Jones — who recently went to Ethopia with The Brooke.

“We’re thrilled to have Liz on board and hope she remains our patron for many years,” said Elaine. “Liz has a passion for equine welfare and is keen to help this charity move forward and grow, as it should, in the work covered at markets, auctions and horse fairs across the UK, as well as with horses and ponies in need of a place of safety.”

The event is black tie and tickets cost £25

For more information visit: www.equinemarketwatch.org.uk/