THOSE with long memories and possible local ancestry may well remember when Ferne Estate (located in the parish of Donhead St Andrew, Shaftesbury) operated as an animal sanctuary, owned and run by the late Nina, Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon.

The animal sanctuary was founded at the start of the Second World War in 1939, providing refuge for over 6000 pets during the war years–many of whom lost their owners during this time. Today, Ferne Animal Sanctuary still survives, although since 1975 we have been based near Chard in Somerset.

Last year we celebrated our 80th anniversary, an event in which we took great pride and which caused us to reflect on our origins and fascinating history. We are making strenuous efforts to gather and preserve as much knowledge and information as we can regarding the work of the sanctuary between the years 1939 to 1975.

As the Duchess sadly passed away in 1951 the survival of Ferne Animal Sanctuary during subsequent years would not have been possible without the hard work and loyalty of so many people; we feel that they too deserve to be remembered for the part they played in our history.

To this end we request your help in sharing with us any recollections pertinent to the early years of our small but greatly loved sanctuary.

Names of individuals do survive: Mr Joe Allen, who was with the Ferne Estate for more than 30 years and took particular responsibility for the horses and cattle. His assistant Mr Eric Butt. Mr E. Roberts, Mr J. Scammel, Mr D. Davidge, Mrs Joan Reynolds, Mrs May Clapp, Miss Peggy Reid, Miss B. Broms, Miss Avril Tucker, Miss Ann Wigger, Miss Joy Tanner, Miss Betty Clarke, Margaret Barrett and Miss Mollie Atherton (Superintendent).

Any relevant material or lingering memories of the part they, and others, played would be greatly welcomed.

If you can help, please do contact us, either by writing to: Sarah Cutler, Ferne Animal Sanctuary, Chard, Somerset TA20 3DH Tel: 01460 67587 or email: Alternatively, Adrian Dixon can be contacted on 01308 868612.

Dr Sarah Cutler

Ferne Animal Sanctuary