Donkey centre fund set up after terror attack

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A fundraising campaign has been set up to support the Wonkey Donkey sanctuary after two members of the family that run it were injured in the terror attack at Manchester Arena.

Josie Howarth and her sister Janet were waiting in the foyer of the venue when the bomb was detonated on May 22.

They were collecting nieces Jenny, 19, and Jodie, 13, from the Ariana Grande concert held there that night. The youngsters escaped unharmed but their aunties suffered serious injuries.

The sanctuary and visitor centre, which was founded in 2015, has closed its doors while the family recover from the incident. And sanctuary volunteer Sophie Wright launched a fundraising page to keep the centre going whilst they come to terms with what happened.

More than £6,500 has already been pledged to cover the costs of animal feed, bedding and vets bills.

Sophie said: “The whole family and all the volunteers are devastated and traumatised by the events but we all want to keep the sanctuary open and the donkeys’ wellbeing is our main priority.

“We don’t want the family to have to be worrying about fundraising during this extremely difficult and emotional time.”

The sanctuary was expected to re-open as The Express went to print yesterday.

A statement from the family, posted on the centre’s Facebook page last week, said they wanted to spend time with Josie, who is believed to still be in hospital, “when she is vulnerable and needs us the most”.

It read: “It is thank you to all of your great donations that we are able to do this and we are truly grateful.”

The Wonkey Donkey Visitors Centre, in Cridling Stubbs, was opened after donkeys helped Jenny recover from a serious illness as a child.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/wonkeydonkey