ROCK superstar Sir Paul McCartney has become the first benefactor in an East Lancashire horse sanctuary’s new sponsorship scheme.

HAPPA, the Briercliffe-based equine welfare charity, is blazing a trail with the introduction of its Second Chance Sponsorship scheme, which the former Beatle has backed.

The scheme supports animals which are given a ‘Second Chance’ by being offered a new ‘forever’ home, so that rescued horses which benefit from sponsorship do not have to stay at the charity’s farm.

McCartney, who is renowned for his love of animals, said: “HAPPA does a wonderful job ensuring that all of their rescued horses undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation process with the aim of finding them a permanent home through their legally binding loan scheme.

“I hope you support this excellent work and join me in becoming a HAPPA second chance sponsor.”

The ex-Beatle has been a patron of the charity for more than 20 years.

A HAPPA spokeswoman said: “He’s been a patron for many years, because of his love of horses, and Linda McCartney loved horses in particular. He always supports us, sends things for auctions, he never fails to send us stuff, he’s really for us.”

Kay Brandist, the charity’s chief officer said of the new scheme: “In some cases we felt that animals in our centre were being denied a chance of a new home as our adopters, under our previous offer, enjoyed visiting them and spending time at our Shores Hey Farm Rehoming Centre and keeping animals available for these 1:1 visits had become an expectation implicit within the scheme.

“We believe that the introduction of our new Second Chance Sponsorship scheme is at the heart of our work which focuses on giving all horses, ponies and donkeys a Second Chance to enjoy happy fulfilled lives in kind, loving new Forever Homes.” Kay also expressed her gratitude to Sir Paul for his continued support.

She said: “We are delighted that our Patron Sir Paul McCartney has once again offered his support by becoming our very first Second Chance Sponsor. He regularly supports the work that we do and his kind words and actions mean a great deal to our charity.”

HAPPA aims to attract 500 Second Chance Sponsors by Christmas 2014.