Mare & Foal Sanctuary appeals for volunteers to help at its popular Visitor Centre

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Do you love meeting new people, making new friends, working with horses and ponies and can give up some free time to help a good cause? The Mare & Foal Sanctuary is appealing for more volunteers at its Coombe Park visitor centre. The volunteers are needed on the reception to greet the hundreds of visitors who come along every summer, as well as helping out in the popular centre café.

Visitor Centre manager Tracy Gray said: “We have several volunteers but the centre has been getting busier and busier thanks to all the people who are coming to visit us from all over the country. The summer holidays are always hectic but it’s a wonderful atmosphere here and we all muck in to make it a great experience for everyone. We’re also able to provide on-the-job training and there are always people around to help. We’re not looking for horse experts, just people who love animals and don’t mind a varied and interesting role.

“Our volunteers come from all walks of life and all of them say it’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends, as well as helping to gain confidence. Working people with a few hours to spare can also volunteer because we can work out the best hours to suit them. All our volunteers love helping out at the Sanctuary. Many have been with us for years and love working for such a worthwhile cause – helping us with the rescuing and rehoming of our beautiful horses and ponies.”

The money raised at the visitor centre goes towards rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining and rehoming ponies, horses and foals that have been abandoned, mistreated or neglected.

Anyone interesting in applying to join the Sanctuary team can fill in an online enquiry form on our website at or click here to send us an e-mail.

Alternatively call the Mare & Foal Sanctuary on 01626 355969 or pop into our Visitor Centre at Littlehempston for more details.

Littlehempston children to get together?

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Plans are afoot to offer more activities for our younger members. We are a small but very spread out parish and children go to lots of different primary schools, so often do not get the chance to get to know each other. The Parish Council organised an on-line survey, which showed that at least ten families and 17 children would be interested in some form of regular get together on a fortnightly or monthly basis. Friday evening was a popular slot – possibly due to the Tally Ho next door, catering for the adults. The most requested activities were outdoor games, one off events such as photography or drama workshops, movie nights and trips out eg rock climbing or canoeing.

The group would be based at the Community Space in the church, which has a kitchen and toilet facilities plus some outdoor space. Similar groups already run at Landscove and Staverton – much help is offered to Littlehempston from their organiser Kerry McCabe, who is too busy sadly to take on our group too.

The Community Space and Littlehempston Lottery have some money to fund a pilot scheme with a professional leader, so if you know of any potential staff, would like to help, have suggestions for activities or missed out on the survey, please get in touch.

It’s amazing – a lottery winner!

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A very happy Chris Lyons won the first prize of £112 in the Littlehempston Lottery drawn at the end of June at the Tally Ho, by Robin Beaumont Brown, who seemed truly amazed at his good fortune in being asked to help out. Gordon Steven was the lucky winner of the second prize of £28.  A most welcome cheque for £140 was presented to Jill Todd, Bookings Secretary for the Community Space – it is planned to use this money to develop activities for Littlehempston children. Well done to the lucky winners and a big thank you to organiser, Ken Wood. And if you’d like to have a flutter and support village causes, just Contact Ken. There are two draws left this year, so there’s still time to be a winner ….

What a scorcher!

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Take 670 visitors, 200 plastic ducks, an array of dogs and an army of willing volunteers, plus a heavy dose of sunshine and you have the ingredients for a perfect annual village fete. This year’s Littlehempston Fete was a leap into the unknown – the new site up the hill was quite different from the old, presenting new challenges and opportunities. This site is bigger and hillier, enabling two new events – the family dog and terrier racing was great fun, and the water slide proved a big hit. Plus the crowds enjoyed a spectacular view over distant Dartmoor. While the youngsters were entertained racing round the obstacle course and battling it out on the slippery pole, the adults lounged in deck chairs in the shade to escape the sun.

One problem facing organisers this year was how to run the traditional duck race on a hill far from Gat Brook. The solution was to convert the water slide into an enormous trough with the enthusiastic participation of the onlookers holding up the sides. The ducks swooshed down amidst excited shrieks. John Joiner (pictured here cooling off in Ken’s Chess Tent) was a most appropriate winner – his son Lawrence had returned especially from the Isle of Wight to provide his invaluable help. Another fitting winner was Robert Moule, who scooped the very last raffle prize – Robert farms the two fields where the fete was held and provided much help and advice.

The Fete Team were delighted with how things went and also with the financial result – over £3,200 was raised with donations already made to Berry Pomeroy Primary School, Rowcroft Hospice and Staverton Court Room, who as ever were most helpful with the loan of their tables and chairs. Money is usually gifted to help pay off the building works loan for our village hall, the Community Space, and last year winter entertainments for our village children were funded too.

If you have suggestions for other worthy village causes, which you would like to see supported by the Fete, please contact the Fete Team. A ‘proper’ application process will be set up shortly. Meanwhile for a detailed breakdown of this year’s finances, do contact Ali Taylor. Thanks for all your feedback so far that includes excellent ideas for improvement for next year, which will be discussed at the open review meeting in September. The date will be sent out soon – do come if you possibly can.

Much of the village helped out in some way and the wonderful volunteers worked their socks off, both on the day and in setting up and clearing away. No mean feat with the scorching temperature. A big thank you to all involved. And thanks to Neil Kelly, Mike Smith, Ali Taylor and Ken Wood who provided the great gallery of photos.