Ferne’s First Online Dog and Cat Show – Entries open Saturday 5th September

Our annual Dog Show is a real highlight of the year at Ferne!  This year due to current regulations we are moving the event online and holding our first ever Online Dog and Cat Show to raise much needed funds for the Sanctuary.

We have 7 dog classes and 7 cat classes as well as one joint class!

First to third place in each class will receive rosettes and the winning photographs will feature in our Spring @Ferne Magazine.

To download a copy of the competition’s rules please click HERE

Please email all entries to frm@ferneanimalsanctuary.org

Good luck, we can’t wait to see all your photos!


The Big Give – can you help us reach our target?

Rabbits can be fantastic pets if you understand their needs but there are a number of reasons why they may not be the low maintenance pet that many hope for;

  •     They live between 8 – 12 years, so are quite a long-term commitment
  •     They are highly social and should not be kept alone. However, having company does not mean a Guinea Pig, it needs to be another rabbit
  •     They are most active at dawn and dusk and in the wild would remain underground in the day to avoid predators
  •     They have long, powerful hindlegs and need access to sufficient space for exercise, in the wild, rabbits cover an area of up to 30 football pitches in a day and their long legs enable them to stand vertically and browse
  •     They will need routine vaccinations and dental care (their teeth grow constantly throughout their life)
  •     They breed……well like rabbits! So neutering is essential and carries a cost of approximately £80

As a loyal supporter of Ferne, this may not be news to you but the above are some of the reasons that so many rabbits come into Ferne and other sanctuaries through no fault of their own.

This year, we are applying to take part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, to raise funds for our For Life campaign. The aim of the campaign is to remind, reinforce and educate all ages about the cost and requirements of animal ownership, with the ultimate aim of increasing understanding of animal welfare needs, improving the quality of life for many animals and reducing the number of unwanted animals who through no fault of their own need rehoming.

 As part of our application, we need our key supporters to make promises of funding, called ‘Pledges’, which will be used as match funds to double online donations made to our charity during the campaign. Your commitment of funding might also help us to secure additional match funds via a Champion (sourced by the Big Give).

We currently have £1900 and are aiming to raise a total of £2500.  Would you consider making a pledge of £100 to help us reach our target? We realise £100 is a lot of money, this is the minimum set by the Big Give not by us but the pledge could be on behalf of a family or workplace group, or perhaps in lieu of gifts if you have a special occasion coming up?

If you would be willing to make a pledge, you can do so by completing the online form by the deadline of 5pm, Friday 4th September.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Mascot Mayhem 2020

Ten Mascots go head to head to compete for the title in the 2020 Mascot Mayhem Games! But who will YOU sponsor to WIN?


If your chosen sponsored mascot WINS the Championship then YOU will win prizes!

Click here to watch a brief intro video which will explain the rules! Get involved and show your support by donating on our website and by checking the website and our social media pages each week for score updates!

Over the next 6 weeks, the Ferne Animal Sanctuary Mascots will be raising funds for Ferne by competing against each other in 7 different challenges to secure their positions in the Mascot Mayhem Leaderboard!

The mascot with the most points after all 7 Challenges will be crowned the Mascot Mayhem Champion 2020!

i-Spy and Colouring In Competition and Bronze Rubbing Trail!

With COVID 19 still affecting our children’s activities at Ferne, we have had to get creative with our “non contact” activity trails – but there are still fun things to do here at Ferne! Come and have a look at all of our resident animals, have a coffee in our takeaway cafe and take a look at our giftshop which is now open on weekends! We are starting to get back to normal!

Come and visit us and take part in our i-Spy Challenge and colouring in competition! It’s proving to be quite popular with the little ones! We also have a number of bronze rubbing plaques situated around the Sanctuary – Grab a wax crayon and some paper sheets from our Visitor Centre when you arrive and try your hand at creating some lovely pictures during your visit.

We are open from 10am each day and our cafe is open until 3pm each day and we are serving cold sandwiches, hot and cold drinks, chocolates, cakes and crisps.  Last entry is 4pm and we stay open until 5pm! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

If you would like to do some colouring in at home, click on the blue link to download the colouring in pack! COLOURING COMP – SANC – 05.07.20 (002) and don’t forget to bring your entry into us at the Sanctuary – or, drop your masterpieces off to one of our local charity shops!   Good luck!



Short Story Challenge Winners Announced

We are delighted to announce the winners of our Short Story Challenge – we had so many fantastic entries, our judges loved reading each and every one, so thank you to everyone who took part!

Ages 10-13:

1st: Cupcake and Rocky – Ruby-Dee

2nd: Shelly the Break-dancing Tortoise – Frankie-May

3rd: Rescued Rex – Lily

Age 5-9

1st: The Legend of the Brave Tawny Owl – Massimiliano

2nd: The Adventures of Captain Udder-Cow – Logan

3rd: The Enchanted Forest – Daisy

Our judges were also so charmed by the illustrations in one story that an additional prize was created and a Special Commendation for Illustration goes to;

Pugs and Peas – Oscar Alam

Here are our two winning entries;


As a puppy, Rocky lived with his sister Cupcake (Cuppy for short) and his owner Peggy.  Rocky and Cuppy loved curling up on the sofa with Peggy and getting lots of love.  Cuppy and Rocky were Stafordshire Bull Terriers, Cuppy was white with brown/caramel coloured patches and Rocky was pure chocolate brown.  Rocky had a little smile whenever you stroked him behind his ear!  Or at least he did…Cuppy was a very happy puppy with a bubbly personality and an adorable, sweet, honest face, anyone who saw her in the street would ask to pet her and because she was such a friendly dog, Peggy would always say yes.

Peggy was a sweet old lady, bless her.  She always tried her best to look after the two boisterous pups, but sometimes they were just so naughty!

One day Peggy had a huge accident.  She immediately had to go to the closest hospital and to A&E.  She fell down the stairs of her small house.  In that moment, Rocky and Cuppy came to her and started licking her face ferociously.  After examining Peggy’s face, Rocky knew something wasn’t quite right.  Rocky barked until finally someone peered through the window and called the ambulance.  The kind lady’s name was Callie, whose name will be mentioned again….

Peggy stayed in hospital for a few weeks until the hospital suggested that she lived in a care home near the hospital.  Peggy thought it was a good idea, as she would have better care and a new friendly community.  But, if she wanted to live there, she would not be able to keep her beloved doggies, Cupcake and Rocky.  Peggy was very torn; she loved her dogs so much but being in a care home would be a better idea as she would feel safer.  Peggy told the nurse that she would think about it, maybe call her daughter to check it’s the right thing for her to do.

The next sunny July morning, Peggy told the nurse to reserve a house for her.  She knew it was the right decision all along, she just couldn’t bear the thought of letting Cupcake and Rocky go, but she had to.  The nurse said she would take Peggy to the kennels (the dogs were being kept in the kennels) to say goodbye.  At about midday, Peggy got into a wheelchair and the nurse took her to her dogs.  Rocky and Cupcake were so excited that their master was back but they were confused as to why she was crying.  Peggy left and the dogs were taken to a wonderful haven for animals called Ferne.  They were scared at first but soon got used to seeing everyone.

One of the volunteer’s names was Callie, the lady who helped Peggy, Callie became so attached to the dogs that she adopted them both!

The End!



Once upon a time, in a very remote part of Norfolk, dusk was falling rapidly.

The tourists and the walkers had gone home for the day and were probably in front of their dinner by now. The sky was turning pink and yellow and the marshes were getting stomped on by lots of muntjac families. The trees were rustling in the wind as if they were talking to each other. The tide was washing away the white sand like a hoover and it was washing away the colourful toys left behind by naughty families on holiday.

Everything was silent and a little bit eerie…except for a faint TWIT TWOOOOOOOOOOO that was coming from the trees. If you had looked up carefully, you would have seen a group of tawny owls sitting on the branches. Their eyes were shining in the dark like two gold coins; their feathers were reddish-brown and their heads were cute and round.

All the owls were trying to spot their dinner: their favourite food was mice. But one owl wasn’t.

His name was Whatsino, he was a round, dinky and shaggy owl. He was a little bit different. He dreamt about becoming a legendary owl.

He did not know what to do to become legendary.

He tried to become a legendary explorer. After some great effort, he got to India. But the other owls were not impressed and boasted that they had got to the South Pole.

He tried to become a legendary singer. But tawny owls are great singers so he had too much competition!

Then he tried to become a legendary runner but his thick, stumpy legs made him do the splits in the mud! He had to be saved twice. The other owls teased him all night!

Little Whatsino was thoroughly disheartened.

For five nights, he sat on a branch staring at the ragged, barren landscape of the marshes. On the sixth day, at dusk, a terrified robin spotted him and shouted: “ Whatsino, Whatsino, we are under attack! Blaaccccckkkk Shuuuuuck has chosen us for his dinner!”

Whatsino shivered. He had heard of Black Shuck. He was a huge ghostly black dog with flashing red eyes. Not many had seen him but every animal, big and small, was terrified of him. The wretched hound apparently loved to prowl the coast in search of prey. Every now and then someone would disappear.

Briskly, Whatsino flew to the owls nest where his family was waiting for him. Whatsino saw his chance. He said: “No fear. Stay back while I defeat Black Shuck!”

In reality, poor Whatsino did not know if he felt brave or not. Could a scrawny tawny owl like him defeat a big ghostly dog?

He was an owl with a plan.

He prepared a scrumptious dinner of cockles, mussels, oysters and dead fish. He placed it on a big, shiny bamboo plate and served it with a glass of marshes- wine, on a beautiful strip of white sand.

Black Shuck smelled it, ran there and gobbled it all up. GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE. All gone.

What he did not realise is that sadly for him, while he was eating, the tide had come up.

Black Shuck was stranded. He had been defeated by a tasty dinner!

Whatsino became a hero. His dream had come true. He was forever to be known as the legendary owl that defeated evil Black Shuck.

The End!

Host Database

On Friday 24th July Ferne Animal Sanctuary was notified by Blackbaud, the company that provide us with software support that it was the subject of a cyber attack in May 2020, along with a number of other charities and universities.

Some details of our supporters’ data were accessed, limited to names, addresses, telephone numbers,  email addresses and payment/donation frequency. No financial information including credit card numbers or bank account numbers is kept on the Blackbaud system.

Blackbaud have  assured us that the data that was accessed illegally has been destroyed.

Blackbaud have taken immediate steps to rectify the situation and we will continue to work with them to ensure that their systems and procedures are as robust as possible. New safeguards have already been put in place. Anyone with concerns can contact the sanctuary through info@ferneanimalsanctuary.org.

Further information on the attack can be found on Blackbaud’s website through this link:


Huge Thanks to Support Adoption for Pets

All at Ferne are so grateful to Support Adoption for Pets for their support when it is needed most!

As we slowly return to a new normal, we need the help of our wonderful supporters more than ever, to ensure we can continue to pay for the upkeep and vet bills of all the animals in our care.

The grant of £7000 awarded by Support Adoption for Pets means even more at this challenging time.  The funds are for our kennels and cattery and will help us to continue rehoming dogs and cats in their new loving forever homes.


Open from Sunday 5th July!

We are delighted to announce that from Sunday 5th July we will be open to all visitors. Although we are mostly an outdoor attraction, we will be operating with social distancing measures applied. We ask please that you remain within your own group and respect the 2m distancing rule if you need to approach any of our staff. Throughout the Sanctuary there will be hand sanitizers for your use at marked locations.  Our café will remain closed until Friday 10th July.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and we look forward to welcoming all visitors from 5th July.

Ferne open to Annual Pass holders and ‘Friends of Ferne’ members from June 15th

From Monday 15th June we will be starting our phased re-opening of the Sanctuary to our Annual Pass Holders and ‘Friends of Ferne’ members. In compliance with government guidelines, and to thank our faithful supporters, for now, we will ONLY be able to accept Annual Pass holders (or lapsed Pass holders who wish to renew) and ‘Friends of Ferne’ members. The number of Annual Pass holder visitors will be limited, so please consider visiting off-peak on weekdays. If we reach capacity, we will have to temporarily close to visitors for your safety and that of our staff.

We will be operating a one-way system, have toilet facilities available, but no refreshments for now. We will also have additional hand cleaning facilities available, which will be clearly marked. Please note that when we have reached capacity (designated car parking spaces) we will temporarily close until space is available. Thank you for understanding and, as and when restrictions are lifted we will update this on our social media.

Enter our Short Story Challenge for children

Entries now open

We are excited to launch our Short Story Challenge to help raise essential funds for Ferne at this difficult time!  We are inviting children aged between 5 and 13 to write a story of up to 500 words with an animal theme.

It could be about a pet or animal you know, an animal here at the Sanctuary, or something from your imagination!  There’s the opportunity to win some amazing prizes, including a private tour of the Sanctuary with exclusive behind the scenes access and so much more!

Please let your imaginations run wild and get creative to help support the animals in our care, we can’t wait to read your stories!  Perhaps you could share with your school to encourage others to join in?

To download a copy of the competition’s rules please click here and download the application form here

Please email all entries to frm@ferneanimalsanctuary.org