There was no beating around the bush when a group consisting mostly of DAMHA residents rallied round to help an animal sanctuary on the other side of the world.
Earlier this year, Shirley and Ron Read, from Dean Bank, Ferryhill, were preparing to head to Australia for a holiday and to visit their family.
Upset by pictures of the bush fires which affected many parts of the country in January, the couple decided to visit the Healesville Animal Sanctuary, near Melbourne, when they were in Oz.
The night before she flew, Shirley attended a meeting of the Dean Bank Reading Group. This is a group which meets in the reading room belonging to DAMHA. Shirley and Ron, along with most of the group, live in DAMHA homes.
When she mentioned the bush fires and her impending visit, Shirley was amazed when another member of the group, Pat Howard, suggested they have a collection for the sanctuary.
Shirley was even more amazed when, from a group of around 18 people, £375 was donated in just one evening.
Ron and Shirley then gave the money to the Sanctuary when they visited.
Shirley says: “They couldn’t believe that people living in England had taken the time to think about them and they were so happy.
“Healesville had taken in many animals which had been rescued from the bush and they have a viewing area where you can see the work going in their animal hospital.
“Whilst I was there, I saw a koala and a bird being operated on and they both made a full recovery, which was wonderful.”
Ron and Shirley lived in Australia for over 25 years before they returned to the UK in 2017 but two of their children and nine of their grandchildren still live there. Their other son and grandchild live in America.
Shirley added: “We love going back to Australia on holiday and to see our family, and to be able to support a great sanctuary like Healesville during our latest visit was fantastic.
“The fact that a small group of people in Ferryhill were able to help wild animals on the other side of the world made it even better.”
Pauline York, DAMHA’s Operations Director, said: “We’re delighted that our residents and other members of the local community felt this was something they wished to support – it was a very nice gesture on their part.”