AN animal sanctuary boss is planning to chain herself to the Angel of the North, dressed as a chicken, today in a desperate attempt to save more than 300 rescue animals.
Mother-of-four Paula Campbell, 42, fears her animals may have to be destroyed if she is evicted from the sanctuary she has run for almost six years at Milkup Bank Farm, Willington, near Crook, County Durham.
Mrs Campbell, a widow, has been managing to feed her menagerie including horses, goats, dogs, feral cats, canaries, Shetland ponies, ducks, geese, chickens, pigeons and other species at her sanctuary, called Rainbow Ark, against the odds.
She is currently in a costly wrangle with a firm of surveyors over a previous property she sold, which she claims was severely undervalued.
And she faces eviction from the 45-acre holding unless she can find £25,000 within two weeks.
Mrs Campbell said: “Desperate times call for desperate measures. I am perfectly sane – not some sort of eccentric – but I have reached the end of my tether.
“If I am evicted from here and these animals are destroyed, it will destroy me too. People bring unwanted animals here from all over Britain. Recently I was given some husky dogs from London to look after, while one morning I noticed extra birds in the pigeon sheds.
“Somebody had actually broken in and left some more pigeons for me to look after.
“It costs me £1,100 a week to feed the animals, which I do not resent. You come onto this Earth with nothing and you leave with nothing – but right now I do need some urgent help.
“I decided to chain myself to the Angel of the North because I am in need of help from a guardian angel, and I need to publicise the plight of the animals.
“The sanctuary is not only a haven for animals – children from the area also visit Rainbow Ark, including disabled youngsters. I would rather die than leave here. I have put my heart and soul into this place,” said Mrs Campbell.
Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary also has a separate area known as Durham Dales Ferret Rescue, where more than 20 ferrets are cared for.
“Ferrets may not be cuddly like cats and dogs but they are also living creatures,” said Mrs Campbell, who took a farm management course at college and is also a talented artist and author.
She has written a children’s book called Norah A. Chicken and is offering some of her artwork for sale. Norah A. Chicken can be bought online for £5.99 from penpress.co.uk
The sanctuary can be contacted on (01388) 745380.
I would rather die than leave here. I have put my heart and soul into this place