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Bransby Horses appeals for visitors to boost morale following floods

A heartbroken charity still feeling the effects of severe flooding is appealing for “friendly faces” to continue visiting the site.

Bransby Horses in Lincolshire was heavily affected by flooding when drain valves were closed to save thousands of homes from flooding. Of the 1,000 equines in the charity’s care, 100, had to be urgently moved to temporary dry areas, with plans to move them to the Bransby’s Barlings site in Langworth.

The valves have been re-opened but a spokesman for the charity said it is welcoming a “fraction of the number” of visitors it has done over the past few years, believed to be because people assume the site is closed.

“Despite the damage, the visitor centre, shop and café have been totally unaffected by the flooding and continue to trade as usual,” said the spokesman.

“The charity has an amazing selection of baubles and Christmas gifts that would normally be flying off the shelves. The award-winning café continues to serve a selection of winter warmers and other tasty treats.”

Visitor engagmement manager Holly Hart said it was “heartbreaking” to see the visitor centre so empty.

“Normally at this time of year we are busy selling our winter gifts and the café would be full of people, but with visitor numbers so low, we stand to lose even more money from the floods,” she said.

Events and activities including a rug and tack sale have been cancelled in order to focus on welcoming visitors to the site day-to-day.

“The charity will be giving refunds to those who have booked activities already but are still desperate for people to visit their site for a day out. While some of the land has been severely affected, visitor areas are still open and support is still needed by the charity to continue its work through the winter,” said the spokesman.

Bransby fundraising manager Charlie McCelland said there is “still a tough road ahead”.

“While we are all working hard and getting good support from the local community, we still have a long way to go. Please do visit our website and social media channels to find out more about how to support our mission, so we can continue helping equines who have had a difficult and traumatic start in life,” he said.

“Our gift shop, café and some of our walkways are still open and the teams and animals would love to see visitors. Friendly faces coming in for the day help give us a morale lift during this challenging period. We have faced the worst conditions for many years but together, we can get through it and continue to be there for equines in need.”

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The spokesman added that the charity plans to move some of its equines to the Barlings site in the next four to six weeks so the Lincolshire site can be cleared and given time to recover.

“The timeline for moving animals and teams to the site in Langworth was originally the end of 2020, so we have been working hard to raise the money needed to have the right infrastructure in place at the site as soon as possible,” he said.

“The charity has sent out a plea for donations of money, items, time and foster homes and has had a good response so far but the challenge is far from over. The charity will feel the effects of the flood for many months, possibly until the end of 2020.”

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