To celebrate the end of the year we thought we’d share a little round up of some of the year’s most memorable moments. So much has happened it’s impossible to share everything but we hope you enjoy this little recap, and some of our favourite photos, moments and stories from the year.
A huge thank you to all our hard-working teams all across the UK, and to all of you too, our wonderful supporters, because without your kindness and generosity none of our work would be possible.
From everyone at Redwings we wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing you all in 2024!
January got off to a cold and frosty start across most of our sites with our teams capturing great photos of our residents in the wintery conditions and also capturing some stunning winter sunrise and sunsets too. Redwings oldest resident Willow celebrated her 45th birthday with a special celebration organised by her carers, some young visitors to Redwings Aylsham enjoyed dressing up in the visitor centre and the Aylsham donkey herd made the most of their field shelter and cosy rugs when we stopped by to take some photos of them.
February was Women in Science Month and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work of our dedicated vet team. We saw some more frosty mornings across our sanctuary sites, mascot Red made a mess in the Redwings HQ kitchen whilst attempting to make pancakes for our TikTok channel, Radcliffe was Star Patient of the Month, Wee Man wanted a boop at Redwings Mountains and Red's Shed at Redwings Aylsham had an unexpected visitor in the form of a beautiful barn owl!
March saw some new arrivals at Redwings Ada Cole with goats Billy and Barbara joining visitor favourite Frappe. We announced exciting news that we would be launching a fundraising edition of Black Beauty later in the year and asked our online audience to send in photos of them enjoying Black Beauty for World Book Day. Mildred’s story was the feature of our new animation, voiced by Stephen Fry, and lots of our lovely residents posed for our social media photos, including donkeys Bella, Florence and Alfie and Carlisle who was keen to show off his marvellous moustache!
In April the Redwings Caldecott donkeys got very excited when young supporter Dylan came to visit them whilst on holiday nearby, Adoption Star Tinkerbell celebrated her birthday whilst fellow Adoption Star Rumpel provided us with a great #TongueOutTuesday photo for our socials. Tom Thumb looked cute enjoying some stable time whilst Garde was so excited when he got to leave his stable and enjoy some turnout time after being on box rest recovering from an injury. The Redwings Ada Cole team made a wonderful Easter video dancing to Miley Cyrus’ hit song Flowers too!
Our collaborative campaign – Strangles Awareness Week – kicked off in May with eventing legend Piggy March once again supporting the temperature checking challenge. Monarch joined the Adoption Scheme just ahead of The King’s Coronation and we shared an update on recently rescued foal, Barney, who became the face of our summer appeal. The Gangsters got very excited about Eurovision and Master Saddle Maker, TV personality and author Suzie Fletcher visited Redwings Caldecott!
In June our welfare team headed to Appleby Horse Fair along with nine other animal charities to support the protection and wellbeing of horses. Whilst there we awarded 18 Best at Appleby awards for horse health, happiness and horsemanship. Redwings Elsa went to the Royal Norfolk Show and came back as Rescue Champion! The Mayor of Great Yarmouth visited Redwings Caldecott and announced Redwings as one of her charities of the year, Barney enjoyed his first time on grass since his rescue and Basil the donkey was our Star Patient of the Month.
We were delighted to welcome Her Majesty the Queen to Anna Sewell House in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in July. During her visit, the Queen toured the building where Anna Sewell was born in 1820. Her Majesty met our staff and trustees who talked with her about Anna and her novel’s influence on animal welfare and she viewed a number of early editions of Black Beauty too. The Queen also signed special copies of our new fundraising edition of Black Beauty, produced in collaboration with the UEA Publishing Project and edited by Professor Thomas Ruys Smith. Read more about her visit here
August saw rehomed pony Redwings Carwen attend her Guardian’s wedding as a special guest, little Shetland Mariah was reunited with her rescuer PC Mariah who came to visit her at Redwings Caldecott, donkeys Basil and Jemima made the most of celebrating National Lazy Day, Doc and his friends at Redwings Oxhill enjoyed some homemade horse friendly ice pops and young fundraiser Izzy completed an amazing fundraiser by cycling to all our visitor centres with her dad and his friend and raised over £2,000 for our rescued residents along the way!
In September, for the first time ever, we took part in English Heritage Week at Anna Sewell House. Our incredible volunteers welcomed over 280 people through the doors across the three days we were open. We shared some brand new stables that had recently been completed at Redwings Ada Cole, residents at Redwings Mountains made the most of enjoying some long overdue warm weather, we shared the story of Ada Cole’s oldest resident Amadeus and little Alfie, who came to Redwings with a nasty injury earlier in the year enjoyed his first time out on grass.
October saw Redwings Mountains suffer the impact of Storm Babet with severe flooding across the site. The amazing team there battled the conditions to access the site and ensure the residents were all safe and well throughout. Young cob Pickle joined the Adoption Scheme and celebrated with a party at Redwings Aylsham, our popular podcast Sounds of the Sanctuary returned with a new series, the team at our Newton Flotman site went all out with their own version of the Addams Family for Halloween and we launched a brand-new website!
November was incredibly busy with the exciting release of our fundraising edition of Black Beauty and our brand-new animation about Anna Sewell which was voiced by Dame Joanna Lumley. In addition to that we attended Your Horse Live with both a stand and ponies in the Rescue Village, who enjoyed lots of visitors, including This Esme! We also captured some footage across our Norfolk sites of our ponies and the impact that fireworks had on them across Bonfire Night weekend. The footage was picked up by many large media outlets and the video has received almost 100,000 views across our social media channels and website.
And here we are now in December, another jam-packed month already before it has even ended! We were once again the proud sponsor of the Animal Hero of the Year category at the Norfolk and Waveney Star Awards - this year’s winner was Alfie the dog! We announced the wonderful winners of our Creative Writing competition, which we hosted in partnership with the University of East Anglia and we were also the lucky recipients of a Partnership Working Award presented to us by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. On top of that we attended the Civic Carol Service at the invitation of The Mayor of Great Yarmouth and throughout the month we’ve been sharing stories of some of our residents who will be enjoying new homes this Christmas, just like rehomed Budgie shown here!
We’d like to wrap up our reflection of the year by paying tribute to the incredibly special Adoption Stars that we have very sadly said farewell to this year – Dusty, Dolly, Dayzee, Gulliver and Muffin. All very much missed but who have left us with such special memories.
April - Young supporter Dylan meets the Caldecott donkeys!
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