Photo gallery: Could you help keep Hemsby animal centre’s ‘ambulance’ on the road?

John and Tonia Garner who run Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue at Newport.
They have used all their savings to buy a new van for the rescue centre.

Picture: James Bass John and Tonia Garner who run Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue at Newport. They have used all their savings to buy a new van for the rescue centre. Picture: James Bass

Friday, March 7, 2014
8:13 AM

An east Norfolk animal charity is appealing for a band of benefactors to hop on board as generous passengers to help keep its caring crusade on the road.

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Foxy Lodge is on the lookout for supporters who can pledge a monthly donation to cover the cost of a new van, after its old transport suffered an out of the blue breakdown.

John and Tonia Garner, who run the wildlife rescue centre in Hemsby, were facing a £1,000 bill to get their van back on the road, after it had a major engine failure on the way to Lowestoft to pick up an injured seagull.

The couple had already spent several hundreds of pounds getting it through its MOT and decided to cut their losses and buy a new van.

With the sale of one of their cars, money from savings and after advertising their old van for spares and repairs, they were able to put down a four-figure deposit on a new Fiat Doblo.

But they had to take out finance to cover the remainder of the asking price and have now launched an appeal to help pay off the monthly instalments, through their Fab 15 Van Donators Club.

The charity is looking for 15 people who can pledge £10 a month to meet the finance payments of £150, and one generous supporter has already stepped on board to help.

John said: “It’s a vital piece of equipment. We have to pick up some animals like deer and foxes and when we do all the releases back into the wild we use the van.

“We also make regular trips to the tip and we get donated items, some of which are large. Not only can we pick them up, when we sell them we can offer to deliver them too.

“It’s a valuable tool to us in both what we do and helping us to fundraise.”

The finance for the new van is spread over four years but John said those signing up to the Fab 15 club were not obliged to commit to the whole term.

“We don’t want people to think they’re tied in,” he added. “If they pull out after six months or a year it leaves a gap for someone else to come in.

“There might be some people that don’t want to do a direct debit but might be prepared to donate £20 or £30. We don’t really mind.

“I’m hoping we will be able to afford the other half of the van by way of future donations.”

Foxy Lodge, which the couple set up with money from their wedding, looks after more than 500 birds and animals every year.

For more details about the Fab 15 club and how to become a member visit www.foxylodge.yolasite.com. You can also make a donation online or send a cheque - made payable to Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue Centre - to Foxy Lodge Wildlife Rescue, Newport Road, Hemsby, NR29 4NN.

■ Do you have a story about an animal charity? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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