Amy’s Story

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Amy HSWWebsites come in all different forms, our site is built on our news and achievements. We like to give the personal touch, so I thought I would give you an insight of our founder Amy’s background.

Amy born in 1984 became an animal lover from the age of one, after getting her first pet cat Basil.

At the age of 5 she did a 10 mile sponsored walk with her Rainbows group.

At the age of 6 she started riding lessons, this was the start of her passion for horses. Amy very quickly started to help at the riding school, grooming, mucking out stables, cleaning tack etc. She would spend her weekends there and attend pony management days throughout school holidays. Although she enjoyed riding, she preferred the horse management side of things.

Still a member of the Brownies Amy joined The British Red Cross at the age of 10. She put in hundreds of voluntary hours, covering a wide range of events from concerts to football matches. Amy could converse with all walks of life, treating everyone as an equal.

At 10 Amy decided to do a sponsored 24hr fast to raise money for the R.S.P.C.A. (some achievement for a 10 year old)

Aged 12 Amy had to leave Brownies and progress to guides, however, she decided not to make that step. So carrying on with the horses and Red Cross, she decided to look after friends small pets when they went on holidays, and continued to do so up to the age of 28 even after she left home. Wanting to do more with horses she started to look after other peoples horses on their own yards.

Amy had made up her mind she wanted to be a vet, an opportunity to spend a week at The Royal Veterinary Collage in London  when she was 15, confirmed this was the path she wanted to take.

Still heavily involved with B.R.C. and horses Amy found a voluntary role in a local vets, attending once a week and through school holidays. She was very much encouraged by the vets to be hands on, and get involved. It was around this time she stopped working at the local riding school, and helped look after horses on a dairy farm, bringing her in close contact to cows. (just another animal to gain confidence with). On the way home one night from the farm she came across a cat that had been ran over. Still alive, Amy promptly took off her jumper to keep the cat warm and sat with it, while the owner was located. She travelled to the vets nursing the cat, and was please to hear the next day the cat had survived although had been hit pretty badly.  Just two days later,  a few cows had broken out of their field with passersby not knowing what to do to prevent them from going on the road. Amy didn’t give it a second thought and herded them back into the field, then located the farmer so he could secure his fencing.

There are dozens of stories like that, but will move on. Amy decided to get her grades the unconventional way and went away to Northop Horticultural College to gain her qualifications for veterinary collage. Studying Horse Management and gaining her tractor licence, she continued to look after other peoples horses of a weekend and attend her Red Cross duties. Throughout the summer holidays, she did cover for a friend, on a yard in Wales as groom/nanny. Meeting some big names in the horse world, she was recommended to the famous Whitaker family, who contacted her to say she had a job with them in Ireland if she wanted it.

Sadly, things were about to change the course of Amy’s life. At the age of 17 her father passed away, trying to carry on it soon became apparent Amy just needed to be near her mum and family. The decision was taken to take a year out, find a job and continue with her duties to Red Cross and Horses.

After a few short term jobs she found her neish in retail, she was a natural salesperson, and her ability to care and converse with people made it a job she enjoyed. Natural progression meant she never did return to her studies. Amy was a natural at fundraising and became the fundraising manager for the North West with her employers. On losing a young beautiful friend aged 22, Amy set to raising funds for Cancer Research, Anthony Nolan Trust and other good causes (and still to this day gets involved as much as she can)

Age 19 Amy got her first horse Queenie, slightly underweight and only ever been a brood mare. Queenie didn’t like men and didn’t have a lot of trust in humans as a whole, but the bond soon became strong them both wrapped up in a comfort blanket of love for each other. Her work and Queenie commitments meant Amy had to give up the Red Cross. What I haven’t mentioned is, Amy always had a dream of having an animal sanctuary, this was to be self funded and run a long  side her veterinary work. Having not followed the vet route, her dream would have to stick to small time, helping animals and rescuing the odd small animal !!!!!!!

Well, we all know (if you have read the home page/Herbies story) destiny was ready to deal Amy her next card and a new road in her life.

Working full time Amy could only afford to finance Queenie and Herbie, but she actively helped other horse owners with advice or contacts, where she could she would rehome horses direct from owner to new owner. As she was promoted in work her wage increase funded another rescue pony. She was never interested in fancy clothes, flash cars, holidays in the sun or any of the normal girly things, her love was animals and helping others.

May 2010 she met Shaun, with just 4 horses at this point Shaun soon got involved with Amy’s passion and not long after, 4 became 6. By October they had taken on 4 more who were to stay on another site some 8/10 miles away.  Working full time, running two sites Amy also did a degree on equine nutrition, plus fundraise for HSW and  other large charities. You know the basics from there to today. But Oct 2014 was to deal Amy another blow.

Having had a chest infection and not clearing with antibiotics, Amy was to spend the next 3 months back and forth to the GP and hospital. Doctors thinking chest infection had gone to bronchitis, pneumonia so on and so on, loss of sight in one eye and other symptoms they put down to small strokes, and at this time diagnosed with diabetes. Running the sanctuary means Amy cannot rest like most of us do, even with dedicated volunteers helping on the daily running and supporters with donations, there is so much behind the scenes that at this point only Amy can deal with. (as we grow, we hope to fulfil some of these roles with the right people). On one hospital admission the doctor on duty spotted something others had missed, sending Amy to a specialist and having lots of tests she was diagnosed with a rare illness called Sarcoidosis, and also Lupus. These mean she has no immune system basically, she needs steroids just to help her breath, and the diabetes doesn’t like the steroids so she is on insulin and other medication to prevent her being  hyperglycaemic, unfortunately she  has lots of infections which send her bloods high, so is on a constant health battle. 

Well that isn’t a plea for sympathy, it is awareness that no matter what, Amy will battle for her animals and always be there for others, be it fundraising, donating or helping someone set up home  she really cares. The charity misses Amy’s financial input of 1200 per month, but her love, passion and commitment is priceless. Amy earned her halo a long time ago, we just hope the charity goes from strength to strength and one day support itself financially so she can sit back and enjoy her achievements.