Loughborough Echo

Smashing pumpkins! Post-Halloween plea goes the whole hog



A BOOKSHOP owner who posted on Facebook that she was collecting postHallow­e’en pumpkins for an animal sanctuary has been blown away by the response.

Tina Gee, pictured, who runs The Old Curiosity Bookshop in Hathern, hit on the idea after a conversati­on with one of her friends.

“My friend Rachel runs Home in the Hills Animal Sanctuary, near Loughborou­gh, and on one of her recent visits was saying how commercial pig food has shot up in price by almost £60 per half-tonne,” said Tina.

“As her 11 pigs get through a halftonne every four to six weeks this was having quite an adverse impact.

“She mentioned that she was going to speak to her fruit and vegetable supplier to see if he could strike a deal with the people at the wholesaler­s enabling her to buy any spare pumpkins they had, postHallow­e’en, at a much reduced price. That conversati­on gave me an idea.

“I wrote on our bookshop blackboard that I was collecting pumpkins to help an animal sanctuary with their soaring animal feed bills and shared the photo of the blackboard request on Facebook. The response was, well, astounding.”

Tina and Rachel were asked to appear on BBC Radio Leicester talking about the appeal and the reasons for it.

Tina has also appeared on ITV News and her Facebook post went viral with over 34,000 likes, comments, shares and impression­s.

“We received 1,426 pumpkins in total, as well as allotment donations of apples, red cabbage and marrow and some financial donations too from people located too far away to drop off their donations in Hathern. The response has been incredible,” she said.

Rachel added: “All I can say is thank you. I think, conservati­vely, the pumpkin donation will save us between £200 and £350 in commercial pig food costs. “More people are aware of our work because of Tina’s Facebook posts and it’s been an absolute joy to meet so many donors and share photos with them and their children of the pigs enjoying their pumpkins!

“I can’t thank Tina enough for all she has done and we’ re already talking about a festive fruit and veg fund- raiser in December too!” Home in the Hills Animal Sanctuary provides a loving, safe home to ex-commercial farm animals including 11 pigs, five goats and 13 chickens.

Two Welsh mountain ponies and three dogs complete the menagerie, while a small group of male lambs will be joining within a few weeks.

The sanctuary is privately funded with donations from friends and family.

A website will be launching soon, but until then there is a Facebook page at: facebook.com/HomeintheH­illsAnimal­Sanctuary

The Old Curiosity Bookshop stocks more than 50,000 second-hand individual titles.

Find out more about it on its website at: oldcuriosi­tybookshop.co.uk

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