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Appeal launched to keep Elsenham working farm and rescue centre Daisy May's Farm running

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A £2,500 fundraising appeal has been launched by Elsenham’s Daisy May’s Farm in a bid to keep the attraction afloat and its animals fed.

The ripple effect from the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the working farm and rescue centre in Hall Road, which had to close to the public at the start of its busy spring season.

New life has continued to flourish, with lambs and chicks being born, but with the rising number of mouths to feed plus unforeseen vet bills, owner Rachel Berry said they now had no choice but to appeal for extra financial support.

Spring chicks at Daisy May's Farm (34329444)
Spring chicks at Daisy May's Farm (34329444)

A sick goat, Martha, had recovered from a bout of illness, but popular ewe April, who arrived at Daisy May's as an orphaned lamb six years ago and had recently undergone exploratory surgery for an unknown illness, losing two lambs in the process, sadly died last week despite round-the-clock care from the team.

"What started out as crowdfunding to cover vet bills, we've now updated and upped our total, setting ourselves a target of £2,500 for feed and upkeep," said Rachel.

"A lot of people who've got their own businesses can just close their doors and are receiving rent relief, but we can't just shut up shop, we have to carry on, but aren't eligible for any grants. We've had our accountant look into it, but because we don't pay business rates we're not eligible for any grants so we're struggling day to day."

Daisy May’s Farm, Hall Road, Elsenham. Lewis, 2, and his sister Emily, 4, holding a lamb, helped by Daisy May's volunteer Ellie Silvester. (34325502)
Daisy May’s Farm, Hall Road, Elsenham. Lewis, 2, and his sister Emily, 4, holding a lamb, helped by Daisy May's volunteer Ellie Silvester. (34325502)

Outstanding vets' bills, a £1,000 hay delivery and £600 for bedding were all costs that would normally be covered by visitor income, Rachel added.

"Our biggest problem is that while we're managing right now, this is the time we would earn the money that would take us through the winter. It cost us £17,000 to get through last winter and that was earned through the farm. What happens when you don't have that buffer in the bank?"

The farm – which is home to sheep, goats, pigs, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and ducks – had a tough season last year when Hall Road was closed for road works, severely hampering visitor access. The pandemic has resulted in two staff members being laid off and Rachel is relying on the support of volunteers working at a safe social distance.

"We have people putting themselves at risk for the animals that they love," she said. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/daisymaysfarm to donate to its appeal.

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