THE owner of an animal sanctuary near Evesham faced with eviction has spoken of her gratitude after receiving a flood of support.

Janet Taylor has been running the sanctuary at Manor Orchard Farm, Middle Littleton, for 14 years after animal charity supporter Patricia Bernie gave the land to her as a gift.

Ms Taylor has more than 600 animals in her care including 400 sheep, 13 pigs, 15 horses, cattle, turkey and geese. She employs three members of staff and has four part-time volunteers.

But now Ms Bernie wants the land back as she claims she gave it to Ms Taylor on a temporary basis and all the animals could face slaughter if the sanctuary is forced to close.

Since her plight became public, 71-year-old Ms Taylor has received anonymous donations of cash, as well as a £250 donation from nurse Sara Long.

Miss Long, aged 44, who works at the community hospital in Pershore, raised the cash after completing a marathon cross-trainer session in just over 12 hours – the equivalent of 71 miles.

“I was just moved by all their hard work and how caring they are. I feel sad they’ve put all that work in for all this time to give those animals a life and now they face putting them down.”

The case is due to go to trial in June at Birmingham Crown Court if it cannot be settled by mediation over the next few weeks.

Ms Taylor said: “It’s nice to know that other people care about the plight of these animals.

"I’ve had cash in envelopes pushed through the door and a few anonymous donations.

"It makes me feel stronger to fight this thing. We have got a lot of support and it’s nice to know it’s coming from local people.

“All we want is a long-term tenancy agreement or the opportunity to buy the farm when some of our legacies come through.”