£1900 boost for pet refuge struggling after pandemic wiped out fundraisers

Friendship group, Nene and Welland Oddfellows, has presented the Exotic Pet Refuge charity in Deeping St. James with a cash boost of £1525.00 and a car boot full of essential donations worth £400.

Based on Station Road, the Exotic Pet Refuge is home to over 250 unwanted, abandoned or neglected exotic animals and rescued British wildlife. Unable to run their regular open days and fundraising activities throughout the pandemic, the Refuge has struggled on a reduced income, and relied heavily on donations from the public to cover running costs.

Despite government restrictions preventing the Nene and Welland Oddfellows from meeting face to face, £1375 was raised by its members for the Refuge over the past year through a variety of online events.

The local friendship society chose the Exotic Pet Refuge as its Chairman’s charity of the year for 2020, with an additional £150 raised through the sale of Chairman June Holt’s handmade knitted toys.

The local group also collected donations of essentials such as pet food, toys and bedding for the Refuge, to the value of £400.

Although June’s year as Chairman for the group is coming to an end, Nene and Welland Oddfellows incoming Chairman, John Sargeant, will be continuing the Branch’s support for the Exotic Pet Refuge for a further 12 months.

Andrew Spencer, Event Co-Ordinator for the Nene and Welland Oddfellows, said: “Lockdown has meant that the Refuge is unable to host open days as usual and, as a result, is missing out on much-needed donations. We’re pleased to have been able to help in this small way, and hope to be able to visit the Refuge again soon.

Pam Mansfield, owner of the Exotic Pet Refuge, said: “We look after many different types of animals here, from wolves and snakes, to monkeys and meerkats! Every donation is gratefully welcomed, and we’re thankful that the Nene and Welland Oddfellows has chosen us as its Chairman’s charity, this year and next.”

The Nene and Welland Branch of the Oddfellows provides social, care, and welfare support to its 555 local members. While face-to-face meet ups are postponed, the group is holding its events online and many are open to the public to take part. To find out more and to receive their latest events diary, contact Andrew Spencer on 07729519122 or email andrew.spencer@oddfellows.co.uk. Future events are also listed online at www.oddfellows.co.uk/events.