Many Hands Make Light Work!

Large Group of Volunteers To Help Us

On Friday 26th September 2014, we had a great group of 17 office workers from Cornwall Council organised by Volunteer Cornwall spend the day with us at the shelter. They worked together to paint wooden doors, hutches and sheds (even our ecoloo), finish pointing the walls of the pig stable and strim and clear the electric perimeter fence.

Maria gave the volunteers a little talk and then I showed them around the shelter, introducing them to the animals and explaining the jobs that we needed their help with. Marshall the goat was thrilled to be amongst so many people and demanded their attention and scratches!

Volunteers with Marshall

Borrowed Tools

Thanks to Cormac, the volunteers had a lovely tool box/trailer dropped off full of different tools to use (these are for volunteers working on various projects to use – a great scheme). After choosing their tools and preparing for the jobs they set to work. I worked with my normal volunteers around them, trying not to disturb their concentration haha

The naughty goat trio, Toffee, Fudge and Oliver had literally a field day. They spent most of the day in the top field with two of the volunteers munching their way through the branches that were being cleared from the perimeter fence. Lucy goose seemed to be on her best behaviour leaving the volunteers in her enclosure alone to paint her house and the other two sheds. There were a few chickens, the very friendly ones, that hung around the painters and pointers and they got a bit splattered with the water based paint, as they just would not stay out of the way.

Goat Walk

Just before lunch, Maria popped back down for a little while and took some of the volunteers (the brave ones haha) for a walk with the goats up the village. My volunteer Jess took some photos for me. The goats were well behaved and they enjoyed themselves, both goats and volunteers.
At lunch time they had an order of Marys pasties which smelled gorgeous. One of the volunteers, Alina, then treated us to one of her beautiful home made cupcakes each. They were so good!

Maria walking the goats with the volunteers
Maria walking the goats with the volunteers
Walking the goats
Walking the goats

Huge Thanks

After lunch they finished the jobs very quickly and I got them all together for a photo.

Thank you very much to them all for their hard work. They have helped us do jobs we don’t get the time to do and it has helped towards preparing for the winter.
Thank you to Geraldine Baker, Phil Coad, Fiona Cooper, Abby Edwards, Jon Foxwell, Kate Harper, Peter Hockin, Lisa Hughes, Anthony Humphreys, Jess Keymer, Neil Kirkland, Dean Mitchell, Alina Smith, Angela Stevens, Karen Symonds, Leah Thomas, Mike Weston and Andy Winn.

The volunteers from Cornwall Council
The volunteers from Cornwall Council

Keeley x

October 5, 2014Permalink

First Open Day at Marias Animal Shelter



Bright Idea

Maria usually holds a big fundraiser each year and it usually takes place in a hall. This year, volunteer Charlotte had a great idea of holding an open day at the shelter, so that people could come and meet the animals, browse stalls, enjoy refreshments and have a go at a tombola and raffle. It would mean people could also reserve animals and give details for home checks.

As part of Charlottes college course, she set about organising the day with help from Maria and the other volunteers.

charlotte doing the raffle
Charlotte doing the raffle


The eve of the Open Day

A huge amount of preparation was involved including where to put animals for the day, where stalls would be, who would be there to help, what refreshments would be available, etc.

When all was planned and ready, the volunteers worked hard to get everything out of the back room at the shelter, sort it and set onto tables. It was a big task, as there were some massive spiders in the room! The endless boxes of books did get a bit much for Lee and me!haha

book stall
Just some of the books we turned out of the store room!


When evening came, there was still a lot to sort, but it was left for the morning. Maria and her volunteers needed to rest for the big day ahead.

The Big Day

On the morning of the open day, everyone arrived early and set about finishing all preparations. Everything was ready just in time for the gate to open to visitors at 12noon. My Mum, Hazel welcomed the first visitors and enjoyed a busy day at the front gate with people coming and going all day.

Paul & Mum
Hazel at the front gate chatting to Marias husband Paul


Most visitors made a beeline for Maria and she had a good chat with lots of lovely people.

Maria chatting to visitors
Maria chatting to visitors



The refreshments proved hugely popular and Louise in the kitchen enjoyed them too, having sneaky bites here and there!

maria & louise in the kitchen
Maria watching Louise serve the refreshments
maria in the kitchen
Maria with some of the refreshments on offer
enjoying refreshments
Visitors enjoying refreshments


The animals were well behaved, except one naughty chicken determined to escape from her temporary enclosure. Volunteer Lee had fun catching her every 5 minutes!

chicken escapologist
naughty chicken walking along the fence looking for a way to escape her temporary enclosure

We managed to rehome four guinea pigs, two chinchillas (to volunteer Jade!haha) and a hamster was reserved.

A Nice Amount Raised

It was a beautiful sunny day (poor volunteers got sunburn!) and it was nice to hear good feedback from the visitors who were surprised to find the shelter bigger than they thought and some were surprised to find it existed at all!

The day went very well and was worth all the hard work. We were very happy and grateful to raise a wonderful £900 on the day.

Thank You

A very big thank you to all the hard working volunteers that made it happen and to all the visitors who helped us enjoy the day and raise such a lovely amount for the animals. Well done Charlotte and Maria….maybe same again next year?!


Keeley x

June 1, 2013Permalink

Success At Our Fun Charity Auction!


Wow! We had such a fun and successful evening on Friday 22nd March 2013 at the shelters fun charity auction. Here is a short blog about the night, apologies for no photos to accompany it, but I was too busy and even Jade didn’t manage to snap a quick one with her phone, as she was manning the tombola stall.

Edd the Auctioneer

After everyone arrived and had looked at the Lots up for auction and sat down ready and waiting, our volunteer auctioneer for the night, Edward Buckland (Edd), stood behind his impressive hand made rostrum and banged the gavel!

Immediately there was silence and Edd began to give a brief introduction of the shelter and the auction…then got straight into it with his fantastic auctioneering talent.

Maria Had Fun

Maria loved watching the auction from the back of the room and found it very entertaining to see her daughter and son competing over some of the Lots!

Natalie, the shelters volunteer accountant, and myself were busy noting down all winning bids for the Lots and register numbers of the winning bidders to make sure we were ready to take payments from the correct people at the end! We still had a laugh at the fun, though, and got a little distracted on occasions.

Happy John

The shelters volunteer handyman, John, was hiding when his Lot came up (3 hours of his work time). He really thought no one would bid for him! After realising that more than one person bid for him and that the winning bidder was to pay £35 to the shelter for his time, he suddenly appeared smiling and did a little ‘Ta Daaa’ pose!

Edds Giggles

A great moment when Edd got to the Lot for a full dog groom and began reading it out…suddenly he started to giggle and turned a little bit red when he realised he nearly read out that it includes an anal gland express!!

Very quickly he said ‘Well, we’ve all read the catalogue haha I’ve never had to sell one of those before’.

Busy End

As soon as the auction was over, people queued to pay before picking up their won Lots. Natalie and I coped brilliantly (I think! haha) with taking payments and making sure we noted down who paid and method of payment, etc. Thank you to Edd who sat for quite a time checking it all and making sure everything was correct.

There was only a brief time for chatting to everyone, but Maria enjoyed meeting all who came.

An Overwhelming Gift To Me

I was overwhelmed when a lovely lady walked over to me and said ‘Hi Keeley, I’m Pat…nice to meet you and I have present for you’. I opened a folded piece of paper to see a beautiful etching (just like the one up for auction) of Marshall the goat. Pat knew I liked her work so much, she decided to give me one of her etchings! Pat Grove made my night! Thank you, Pat.

A Catch Up With Volunteers

It was so lovely for Maria and myself to meet up with volunteers we do not see very often and even a volunteer we have been out of touch with for way too long, Stella, came and made us all smile. We’ve missed her at the shelter and it was good to see her. She trained me at the shelter when I started volunteering in 2010 and I am very grateful to her.

A Huge Thank You

Thank you so very very much to all who donated Lots, all who helped organise and on the night, to Edd the auctioneer, Tony (who offered his skills at showing Lots during the auction and used his booming voice for the raffle!), Probus Comrades Club for allowing us to hold the event there and then donating the club fee to the shelter…..and last but not least to all who attended, bid and donated to the shelter, THANK YOU!

You all helped to raise an amazing grand total of £1300 for Marias Animal Shelter – hugs and kisses all round! xxxxxx

A great night and we will definitely think about another in the near future!

Keeley x


March 27, 2013Permalink

A Fun Day of Fundraising at the MA Griggs open day for Marias Animal Shelter

A Fun Day of Fundraising at the MA Griggs open day for Marias Animal Shelter

Early Set Up

Volunteers John and Georgina were busy unloading the van when Jacqui and I arrived at Griggs in Sticker. Everyone around us in the car park was busy setting up stalls and unloading gorgeous animals, including alpacas, ponies and next to us some llamas from Llamaland. We got to work setting up the tables and fighting the wind with gaffer tape!Thank you for bringing that John!

Our tables were set up with Marias delicious preserves, a tombola, Marias handmade soaps, some books and greetings cards. It was looking lovely and the weather looked great. It was sunny with few clouds and a little wind. People began to arrive before the opening time of 10am.

John, Georgina and Jacqui at the stalls
John and Georgina behind the stall
Georgina selling books

Popular Tombola

The day went very well, with people buying up Marias preserves and a few books and cards, but the most popular money maker was the tombola. Everyone loved having a go and even us volunteers were watching expectantly to see if they had won a prize when they opened the tickets. It was a joy to see the look on the childrens faces when they won something and the adults who thought they were unlucky and never win anything!

The tombola works by all prizes having a ticket on them with the number ending in 0 or 5. All other tickets including that corresponding number are folded and put into a bucket. People then pay either 25p per ticket or £1 for 5 tickets. Most people opt for 5 tickets to have a better chance of winning. Some even bought 10 or 20 tickets! They then pick out their choice of tickets from the bucket and open them up and, if they have a ticket with the number ending in 0 or 5, they win the prize with that number on. Its a bit of fun for us to find the prize with that number on too, as we had white, blue and pink tickets to look through!

If children didn’t pick a winner, we had a tub of sweets so they could take one as a consolation prize. Sometimes they’d rather just have the sweet! I think some people became addicted to it, as they kept coming back to have another go!

Good People

We met some real lovely people during the day and it was so nice to see so many good people happily enjoying themselves. We gained a lot more support from people that had not heard of the shelter before and found some interested in taking on some rescue rabbits, which would be a great help right now with all the rabbits we have needing new homes and it has gone very quiet on the rehoming. There were also people willing to volunteer with us and some giving us tips on new ways of fundraising.

I handed out leaflets on the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund poll and asked if people could please vote for us. All of them who had a facebook account agreed to vote! Georgina was amazing and walked around the place handing these leaflets out to everyone she could, including other stall holders, to gain us more votes. Thank you, Georgina!

Georgina had her photo taken with a big friendly dog by MA Griggs staff

Llama Watching

When it went a little quiet at times throughout the day, we had a lovely view of 4 llamas to keep us occupied. There were 2 adults and 2 babies in a pen next to us and they were beautiful. One of the adults was very sweet and kept calling whenever their owner disappeared out of sight.

Llamas from Llamaland
four llamas from Llamaland
A baby llama from Llamaland

Long Day

By the afternoon, our feet and legs were aching and Jacqui very kindly queued for about 20 minutes to get us some free refreshments. Griggs gave out free food and drink, so as you’d imagine it was a pretty big queue! We had fun, but were glad to start packing up at about 3.50pm. It was much quicker loading up the van than unloading and then we were off.

Thank You For A Brilliant Day

Thank you to everyone who came and supported us, you helped us to raise £280 for the animals at the shelter. Thank you to Jacqui, John and Georgina for your help and for making the day fun. We had a brilliant day in the beautiful autumn sunshine, Thank you MA Griggs and well done!

Keeley x

October 3, 2012Permalink

Volunteer Cornwall Organises Team of Volunteers from Cornwall Council to help Marias Animal Shelter

Volunteer Cornwall Organises Team of Volunteers from Cornwall Council to help Marias Animal Shelter

A Bright Idea

One day, while working at the shelter, the effort trying to get the pigs (Blossom and Tammy the Kune Kunes) up to the far field sparked a good idea from volunteer Llinora. She suggested it may be easier, and much better for the pigs, if a little part of the wall opposite their stable was taken away to let them wander from the yard into the sheep field as they please during the day.

There would need to be a fence to separate the sheep and goats from them, as they would fight, and also to prevent the pigs from churning up where the sheep and goats graze. The pigs would have their very own field to do as they please, in a position where they can see the volunteers and what is going on (they love people) and with good shade from the trees. Perfect!

I put Llinoras idea to Maria and she thought it was brilliant too. We just needed the wood and the workforce!

A Visit From Martin Webb

Soon after, Martin Webb from Volunteer Cornwall visited the shelter to look around and assess whether it was suitable for the volunteers he was organising to come and help out. He was organising a list of places for staff at the Cornwall Council offices in Truro to choose where they would like to offer their time and help.

After his visit, a group from the Property Services Department in the Truro office chose to help us on their day of volunteering. From there, Maria and Martin discussed the plan for the pigs and they decided to erect the fence and two fences in the bottom field, to replace ineffective electric fencing to keep Fudge and Toffee (naughty goats) in, on the day planned for the Council staff.

Maria obtained wood for the fences and a small gate to allow access into what was to be the new pig field and the plan was set.

Early Start

Meeting the sheep bright and early before work began

Martin and his team of volunteers from Cornwall Council Truro arrived at the shelter bright and early and got straight to work. They split into two teams, one team working on the two fences in the bottom field with naughty goats, Toffee and Fudge, and the other team working on the fence and gate in the top field for the new pig field with help from another naughty goat Marshall! After laying some of the wood down to see the postion it would be in, Marshall decided he’d like to walk across each plank!

Naughty goats Fudge and Toffee making friends with the volunteers from Cornwall Council

The teams worked almost non stop and I’m sure there was some sort of little competition going on between them!

Martin wrote: “A team of seven staff from Cornwall Council’s Property Services Department spent a day volunteering at Maria’s Animal Shelter in Probus on Thursday 27th September 2012. Dave Saunders, Phillipa Delbridge-Smith, Lisa Barber, Helen Pascoe, Berni Bush, Michaela Trethewey and Ben Plummer spent the day at the Shelter helping Maria to erect three fences to secure the goats and help reduce the risk of them escaping onto the nearby road and also to create a new secure space for the two kune kune pigs. There was a lot of work to be completed in the day, the fences were being started from scratch and the holes for the fence posts had to be dug and then the posts cemented into position. In addition a gate needed to be fitted to one of the sections of fencing. In some areas the ground was hard to dig out due to the layers of slate and the work was not finished until just before 5pm that afternoon.”

Working on the gate for the new pig field
Let me get this straight!

All Done And Dusted

The fences were finished just before 5pm and the exhausted team were off. They did a fantastic job. The fences are beautiful and have made a big improvement to the shelter. Martin wrote: “The group of volunteers really enjoyed the day and got great satisfaction from both completing the task and knowing that they had helped Maria to improve the conditions for the animals at the shelter.”

The beautiful brand new fence and gate for the pigs new field. Blossom and Tammy in background enjoying their new field.
Tammy and Blossom enjoying their new field behind the beautiful new fence built by volunteers from Cornwall Council
Volunteers from Cornwall Council showing off their almost complete fence in Toffee and Fudges section of the shelter

Many Thanks

Maria was delighted with the day’s progress and stated that she would not have been able to have got this work completed without the support of this team of volunteers.
Maria said “To be honest, I thought it was going to be too large a project for 8 people (7 volunteers and Martin Webb) in one day, but it was amazing how everyone worked together to pull it off. The weather was beautiful as well so that helped us keep in good spirits. I would not have been able to get the work done without the support of this team and I can’t thank everyone enough for all their hard work they put into it”

Maria (far right) with the Volunteers from Cornwall Council

A huge Thank You to Martin and the team. We are so grateful for the hard work you did and you are welcome to come again any time. Perhaps a smaller project for you next time?! ha ha

If you would like to find out more about Cornwall Council’s employee volunteering scheme, please contact Martin Webb at Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266991 or e-mail

Keeley x with contributions from Martin Webb
Photos by Martin Webb


October 2, 2012Permalink

Marias Animal Shelter nominated for Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund poll

Nominated By Supporters

Marias Animal Shelter has been nominated by very kind supporters on the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund  (RWAF) facebook page.


The RWAF is a large organisation that is devoted to improving the lives of the UKs pet rabbits.  It raises money to distribute to rabbit rescues and, each year, they choose four rescues to receive a sponsorship from them with a share of the money they have raised. This year they have opted to try a voting poll on their facebook page to find two rescues to fill the last two places for sponsorship.

The Poll

Thanks to our nomination from kind supporters of our work, we have been chosen for the voting poll to have a chance for sponsorship. We are in the poll alongside Rainbow Rabbits, Pixie’s Rabbit Rescue and Little Angels who are also very hard working rescues that deserve a chance for the sponsorship money. Stiff competition!

How To Vote

Voting closes on Sunday 30th September 2012. You can vote by using the link or find the RWAF facebook page or Marias Animal Shelter facebook page where we have posted the link to click on

then click on 1.marias animal rescue.
You will need to be logged in on facebook.

Every Vote Counts

We have received a good number of votes and people have very kindly been going out of their way to gain us more votes. We really need to get and stay at second place to win sponsorship from RWAF, so every single vote counts.

Useful Funding

If we are lucky enough to be voted into second or even first place to receive the sponsorship, the money we receive will be such a great help with caring for the rabbits at the shelter. We currently have over 30 rabbits for rehoming and they cost the most at the moment. The money would be used to help with the vet bills for neutering, vaccinating and treatment for ailments and will help with feeding, cleaning and maintenance of hutches and pens. This would mean other funds raised can be put towards other much needed projects.

Sapphire in one of the rabbit pens at Marias Animal Shelter
Clover in a pen at Marias Animal Shelter

Much Appreciated

We are ever so grateful for being nominated and having a chance for some much needed funding. For everyone who nominated us for the poll, who has voted for us and tried to gain us more votes…….a huge THANK YOU!

Fingers crossed!

Keeley x

A pretty female at Marias Animal Shelter
Mother and Baby eating together at Marias Animal Shelter
September 28, 2012Permalink