X-Factor judge Simon Cowell has stepped in to help save an ailing horse sanctuary.

Simon has leant his support to the Horse Refuge, a sanctuary for sick, abused or unwanted horses in Wittersham, Kent.

The horse refuge is home to 40 permanent equine residents, including the 20hh Duke — apparently Europe’s largest horse.

The sanctuary is facing eviction from its premises after news that the landlord needs to sell up, and owner Sara Ross has launched an urgent campaign to raise a daunting £600,000 by January 2010 to buy the land.

Music mogul Simon Cowell recently contacted the sanctuary out of the blue to lend his support to their plight.

“He wants to help raise the profile of the campaign and encourage people to give generously,” Sara told H&H.

“He was very warm, and wanted to know more about the refuge. He is keen to help and thinks we are worth saving.”

The X-Factor’s Simon Cowell joins a host of other celebrities who have pledged their support to save the sanctuary, including actress Jenny Seagrove and Heather-Louise McCartney, daughter of Sir Paul McCartney.

“We need people to pull together,” continued Sara. “It will be disastrous if we don’t succeed. If everyone gave us a tenner we would be there.”

To donate, visit www.thehorserefuge.org