The Ark Rescue & Rehoming Centre, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Ashbourne Animal Welfare has sadly just lost one of its founder members, Betty Nuttall of Biggin by Hulland, who will have been well known to many supporters and adopters over the years. Her funeral will be at 12.00 noon on Thursday 14th March at Markeaton Crematorium and afterwards at The Black Horse, Hulland Ward. Since the charity was formed, Betty was one of our Dog Rehoming Officers, volunteering many, many hours a week helping rescue and find new homes for stray and unwanted dogs. Betty's overiding passion in life was animals and as a young woman she spotted an ad in the Farmers Weekly magazine for training to be a shepherd and moved to a farm in Wales to set about learning this craft. She worked for several years as a shepherdess and this is where her great love of Border Collies came from. Betty went on to own many of this breed during her lifetime and Monty, the second dog rescued by us back in 1988, was adopted by Betty and husband Stanley. In 1988 she and Stanley helped found Ashbourne Animal Welfare and before this, both of them did animal welfare work for Leek and Cheadle Animal Welfare. When the numbers of cats and dogs in need started to grow, it was clear to Betty and Stanley that Ashbourne could do with an animal rescue organisation of its own! Hence they, along with several other founder members, held a public meeting at The Green Man and Blacks Head hotel in town to see if there were sufficient like minded animal lovers to form a new animal rescue group. The rest is history.....Stanley became Treasurer and Betty one of the Dog Rehoming Officers, a duty she took very seriously, always most anxious to match dog with new owner. They embarked on a flurry of fundraising to help support the newly formed group and helped at many jumble sales, coffee mornings and bazaars held in the ballroom at the Green Man and then at the Empire Rooms in Ashbourne. Betty also paraded proudly in the Carnival processions then held annually in town, walking with one or other of the charity's rescue dogs. She loved working with, being with and talking about dogs and cats but was a very unassuming and private person, in fact it is very difficult to find even the odd photo of her as she always positioned herself at the back, out of sight! However, she wasn't shy or retiring if it came to defending animals and, for many years before we owned The Ark and could keep rescued dogs and cats there, she would have as many as possible at her home. However, all Betty's observations were touched with a dry humour about people, animals and life in general and she never lost this sometimes wicked sense of humour! Once the charity had raised enough funds to build The Ark, Betty enjoyed continuing with her role of Dog Rehoming Officer, attending every Open Day to chat about the dogs in residence and match them to potential adopters. She continued with this work well into her 80's and, even at the grand old age of 89 years up to when she died, she was still caring for animals, sharing her home with Fox the dog and Tigger the cat, as well as looking after several semi feral stray cats who depended on her for food and shelter. Betty's strong spirit and determination helped to save many, many stray and unwanted cats and dogs and she will be sadly missed by the local community and by all her friends at Ashbourne Animal Welfare, where she played such a key role for so many years.
We certainly have had glad tidings from Alex and Erik, of Alex Clark Art, who have sent us £4000, making a total of over £43,000 donated to our charity since they began supporting us!! This was raised from sales of their charity Christmas cards worldwide as they give us a percentage, together with personal contributions. What wonderful supporters they are! We are very grateful for their incredible generosity, are very proud that they choose to help us and that we have them as our friends. Visitors to The Ark will know Alex's work from the range sold in our shop and good news for those who keep asking... yes Alex is doing a diary this year featuring her much loved cat and dog designs. We are also delighted to say that Alex and Erik will be continuing to support us. To quote Alex " I love animals, which makes my job much easier and I'm just happy there are people out there that take pleasure in my work...very happy indeed!"
Thanks to the lovely staff and generous customers at Pets at Home Derby, Meteor Centre, there was a fantastic result for our charity from their annual Santa Paws appeal. Here's Ruby (and Jane!) collecting the cheque for an amazing £2,271. 89!!! Huge thanks from all of the dogs and cats at The Ark .
This year's Celebration of Animals Service had the largest congregation we have ever had, both two legged and four!! Maud, the donkey from the Donkey Sanctuary Derbyshire Centre, behaved perfectly even though it was her first time attending the Service and we also had shire horse Goldie and two ponies outside, courtesy of Mr and Mrs Critchlow. There were many, many dogs of all shapes and sizes in church who also behaved very well, although the 'singing' got a little noisy at times and we also had ferrets, hamsters and rabbits. Singers from Myforte Music performed a selection of songs and carols, volunteers from Ashbourne Animal Welfare gave readings about cats and dogs and the pleasure and companionship they give to us. The service was taken by Rev Duncan Ballard and many of those who attended remarked how much they enjoyed the service and how much it meant to them.
Happy New Year and Thank You to all our loyal friends, sponsors and supporters
Volunteer Becca completed her sponsored climb up Snowdon, despite encountering all sorts of weather!! So far she has raised an amazing £664 ...... and you still have a couple of weeks to add to that if you would like to! You can donate by using the Donate button on this website (please put Snowdon Walk in the Your Message box). Thank you to everybody who supported Becca and helped to raise so much for our cats and dogs.
We have started our annual Christmas Dinner Appeal and our cats and dogs will be very pleased if you are able to support this by asking family and friends to fill in the dishes to help buy them extra treats at Christmas. You can download a form by clicking on the button below, collect one at one of our events or contact The Ark on 01335 300494. Thank you for supporting us.
It is with great sadness that we are writing to tell you that we have said goodbye to Fabulous Fruitie, our beloved office cat. We made sure she did the things she liked to do on her last day, with the people she knew and loved, then she was put to sleep whilst being cuddled in Wanda's arms. Taking that decision was incredibly hard even though we know it was time and the kindest thing for her. Our hearts are broken now we no longer have this very special little black cat for company in the office. She is buried at The Ark in Luke's Garden alongside dear Mr Riffers, who also worked as our Office cat some years before.
Fruitie shared our office for almost three years and became very skilled at supervising our work, but her greatest and most important contribution was her comforting presence. She was always guaranteed to cheer us up whatever else might be happening and would sit alongside us purring encouragement and was always ready for a cuddle when the going got tough. She was incredibly loving and gentle and also a very brave little soul, coping with all her health problems without complaint. She found a way into the heart of everyone who met her and even converted dyed in the wool dog lovers into lovers of little black cats! We firmly believe she was very happy here and we were certainly happy to have her share our life.
Our office at The Ark will never be the same without her and it will take us a long time to recover and she will always be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Yiphee.....we're delighted to say that we have raised £3686 from this year's raffle as well as receiving an extra £1502 in donations! This is our best ever result so a big thank you to all our supporters who bought or sold raffle tickets for us and to all those individuals and businesses who generously donated the prizes.