Tornado destroys stables at sanctuary

THE manager of a horse sanctuary has spoken of the moment it was hit by a tornado which destroyed a block of stables.Zara Ross watched in horror as the building, which was home to eight horses, was lifted up by the force of the wind during the storm on Saturday.

By Annie Davidson

THE manager of a horse sanctuary has spoken of the moment it was hit by a tornado which destroyed a block of stables.

Zara Ross watched in horror as the building, which was home to eight horses, was lifted up by the force of the wind during the storm on Saturday.

Now she is desperate to replace the stables because six of the 40 horses at her Finchingfield farm are having to sleep out in the cold.


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The freak weather struck at about 6pm on Saturday at Willow Tree Animal Sanctuary at Mill Farm in the village. Fortunately, none of the horses were hurt in the incident.

Mrs Ross said: “It was dark, wet and horrible already when what I can only describe as a corridor of light came towards us.

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“There was a noise like an aircraft - it was like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz. The stables were lifted off the ground and smashed into timberwood.”

Mrs Ross said the destructive gale lasted only a matter of minutes but it remained squally.

“I was out all night checking nothing else happened,” she said. “I thought it was a tornado but when I watched the news the next day it said about the roof coming off the hotel in Haverhill so I presume it was the tail end of that.”

Fencing was also bought down at the farm, which houses up to 40 rescue horses at a time before re-homing most of them, except for those which are too old or ill.

Mrs Ross said the stables had room for eight horses and she had managed to fit a couple in but six were now having to stay outside 24 hours a day.

“I am putting two rugs on them but the poor chaps are out in the field,” she said.

She appealed for anyone who could help financially or practically with the new stables to contact her on 01371 810490 or 07956 229683.

Willow Tree Animal Sanctuary for horses was set up in 1971 by Pamela Townsend who was awarded the British Empire Medal for her animal welfare work. She runs the neighbouring Willow Tree Animal Sanctuary for cats and dogs in Gainsford End.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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