Five-foot pandas to ‘spook horses across the country’ in aid of Willberry Wonder Pony

  • Some 45 five-foot pandas are going on to second careers around the country, having raised funds for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.

    Longleat safari park donated the herd of pandas, which had been part of its Christmas festival, to the charity, which then put out a call for rehomers.

    The brightly-coloured beasts have gone to homes such as Boomerang Stables, the Japanese eventing team — and a man who wants to use one as the chassis of a kit car.

    “They’re going to do fantastic things!” the charity’s Nikki Bakewell told H&H.

    “Ascott Under Wychwood has taken some, quite a few people are going to use them for arena decorations. The Japanese eventing team has taken a couple and even Teddy the Shetland is having one.”

    Nikki said Hannah Francis’s grandmother has a relation who works at Longleat, hence the connection, and that a local haulage firm delivered them free of charge, to a yard which is also storing them for free.

    “So every penny is going to the charity, which is fantastic,” she added. “We set a minimum donation of £50 per panda so we should make at least £2,500, but some people have been very generous and given more.”

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    Nikki pointed out that as well as raising money for the charity, set up by young eventer Hannah Francis before she died, to fund bone cancer research and grant horsey wishes to those with serious illnesses, the decorated pandas will also help raise awareness.

    “They’re going to all sorts of places,” she said. “We’ll all see them — and horses get spooked by them — all round the country, for ages.

    “They’re about 1.5m tall and on stands — one lady turned up with a car to collect hers and I said I didn’t think it would fit, but somehow she rammed it in.

    “It’s great promotion for us, absolutely brilliant.”

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