New Visitor Centre Hailed a ‘Fantastic Achievement’ by HRH The Princess Royal
World Horse Welfare Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue & Rehoming Centre’s new facilities officially opened by charity’s President
The redevelopment of World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre near Somerton, Somerset was described as a ‘fantastic achievement’ by the charity’s President, HRH The Princess Royal when she officially opened the centre on Friday (15th July).
The final stage of the completed development includes an indoor arena and visitor centre which enables the centre’s rehabilitation work to continue all year round, whilst providing educational opportunities for visitors and a vital insight to World Horse Welfare’s work helping horses in the UK and around the world.
The official opening was attended by over 160 guests including World Horse Welfare supporters, corporate sponsors, local councillors, MPs, members of the local community and those who had helped bring the new development to fruition through major donations.
All guests enjoyed a tour of the centre where they met the farm’s grooms and equine specialists and heard about the different aspects of their work and the journey from rescue to rehabilitation of each horse coming into World Horse Welfare’s care. A delicious lunch and afternoon tea were expertly prepared by Glenda Spooner Farm Chef, Tristan, who provided a fantastic showcase of local produce and the high quality of food and drink available in the Visitor Centre Coffee Shop.
The Princess Royal gave a speech about the importance of the new facilities in boosting World Horse Welfare’s work in the South West before unveiling a unique double-sided sculpture of World Horse Welfare Adoption horse, May, specially created by renowned sculptor, Judy Boyt. The stunning model shows May on one side when she arrived at World Horse Welfare emaciated, whilst the other side shows her now she is back to full health.
The Princess Royal said:
“These new facilities are a fantastic achievement. I am hugely impressed by the planning, forethought, layout and understanding of what was needed not just for the horses who receive care at Glenda Spooner Farm but for the people who come here and visit too. It is this relationship between horses and humans that is the most important for the future success of World Horse Welfare’s work.
“Glenda Spooner Farm’s redevelopment is a long term investment which has the scope to attract more interest from supporters but to also do a lot more good.”
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:
“As so clearly articulated by our President during her speech to formally open the new facilities at the farm this is the end of one chapter and the start of a new one with such exciting potential for the future – thoughts which are very much echoed by everyone at World Horse Welfare.
“It was a very special to see the new facilities being so enjoyed by our guests on Friday and cannot wait to welcome visitors over the coming months to learn more about our work, support us through volunteering or donating, watch our expert team in action, enjoy the new Coffee Shop and explore the walks across the farm.
“Rehoming is such a core focus for each of our four centres and when our President last visited Glenda Spooner Farm three years ago her visit resulted in her rehoming Welsh pony, Annie, who caught her eye whilst she was here. So whilst we do love visitors coming in to enjoy a cup of coffee here with us, we also hope many of them might also consider taking a horse or pony home with them too!”
Almost a decade in the making, Glenda Spooner Farm, Somerton has been operating as a Rescue and Rehoming Centre since the site was purchased in late 2006. Previously in Herefordshire, World Horse Welfare’s ‘western’ base was relocated to Somerton – improving accessibility and transport links from a greater geographical area, plus providing a prominent position for the centre and offering a site with much greater potential.
History of Glenda Spooner Farm
Glenda Spooner Farm is named in tribute to the late Glenda Spooner, a remarkable woman who campaigned passionately to improve animal welfare throughout her life. Glenda had worked closely with World Horse Welfare (or the International League for the Protection of Horses as it was known then) and upon her death in 1981 her niece, Vivien McIrvine, founded the Glenda Spooner Equine Welfare Trust to pay tribute to her aunt’s love of horses. In 1996, Vivien became too unwell to take care of the 139 horses in the trust’s care and negotiated a merger with the International League for the Protection of Horses. It is thanks to this amalgamation that World Horse Welfare was able to purchase Glenda Spooner Farm, building a much-needed base in the West and a legacy which continues to help horses today.