There’s truly hope at Hope Pastures – The Cheveners experience
‘I really like the ponies, they look cute. Especially when you rub your hands in their mane. It felt good and I would love to come here again,’ said one volunteer at the Hope Pastures sanctuary in Leeds at the end of what was a beautiful experience.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 would go down as an inspiring day in the life of the 12 Chevening Scholars who volunteered at the Hope Pastures sanctuary, a home for lost, maltreated, and dejected horses, ponies and donkeys.
It was a chilly and windy morning but the sight of the animals warmed our hearts and we cared less about the weather. Upon arrival the scholars who came in from the University of Manchester, University of Salford, University of Bradford, and the University of Leeds were met by Philip Gawthorpe.
Philip is the manager of the sanctuary and has worked there for fourteen years. His welcome speech left all the volunteers in awe of his passion, commitment, and knowledge of the sanctuary and the animals. He is supported by an equally enthusiastic staff who throughout the day worked with dedication and showed the animals so much care and love. Watching them do what they do on a daily basis excited the volunteers who immediately changed clothes and got to work.
Before then, Philip took us round and told stories of almost every donkey, horse, and pony that was at the sanctuary and how they came to be there. The stories were quite touching. We also saw the ‘before-and-after’ pictures of some of the animals and their transformation was unbelievable.
One lesson was clear. If we show love and give hope to even animals, they are bound live through any situation.
The team was separated into two. One built a tent that was needed for an event the day after our visit and the second team mounted a billboard which would carry information about the place and warmly welcome visitors.
The team effort was great as we chatted amongst ourselves while getting the job done. It was all smiles for the team looking at the progress we had made. Philip kept heaping appreciation on us, but we felt we could have done more if not for the fact that night was falling.
It is worthy to note that the sanctuary, since its inception, has rescued, re-homed and rehabilitated over 100 animals, some of which came in almost dead. Through their efforts some families are happier because they have adopted these animals, which has brought joy to their homes.
Also animal lovers, families, groups and individuals have a safe and welcoming place to visit 365 days in the year just to spend time with animals and all of these have been possible because of donations and generosities.
They have no public funding and survive on donations that trickle in. A pound or more is all they need to maintain and run the place efficiently and live up to their motto, to ‘rescue, rehabilitate and re-home’ horses.
No donation is too small, help give hope to these animals and make time to visit them in Leeds. For further information on how to donate kindly visit www.hopepastures.org, and you will be glad you did.