Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Cowell answers horse refuge plea

Simon Cowell
The horse refuge received a phone call from Simon Cowell's office

A Kent horse rescue threatened with closure has won the backing of Simon Cowell in its campaign to stay open.

The Horse Refuge, which is based in Wittersham, near Tenterden, needs to raise £600,00 by next month.

The sanctuary's current landlord needs to sell up and refuge owner Sara Ross has to buy the land to avoid eviction.

She said she received a phone call from the music mogul's office saying the X Factor creator wanted to spearhead a campaign and donate money.

Ms Ross said: "I don't know how he heard about us, but his office phoned up to say he would like to help.

He's offered us a lifeline
Sara Ross

"I duly went into London during the week of the X Factor final.

"He had heard about what we do and said it was essential we keep going.

"He wants to spearhead a campaign to raise awareness of our plight and has donated some money."

She added: "It's unbelievable. He's offered us a lifeline. If we can't stay here, we can't survive. He wants to help us keep going."

Many of the horses at the site are too old or sick to travel, so relocating the refuge has been ruled out.

The sanctuary is home to about 70 abandoned and abused animals, which are mainly horses. It also has a pig nicknamed Louis Walsh - after one of the X Factor judges.

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