AN ANIMAL charity is facing a cash crisis as the driving force behind its fundraising activities battles with ill health.

The Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary needs £5,000 a week to look after the 200 horses, ponies and other animals that it shelters at its Oswaldtwistle stables.

The charity survives mainly on donations, fundraising events and money made at its shops in Accrington and Blackburn.

However, in recent months the situation has become precarious as the sanctuary's founder and key fundraiser, Olive Lomas, has been taken ill often confined to bed.

Olive,78, said: "Old age is creeping up on me, I tried to keep it away for as long as I could.

"The physical work that I have done here has gradually been deteriorating but I am still doing my best to raise money for the animals."

Olive's daughter, Margaret Brookes added: "Mum isn't feeling too good, mostly because she isn't with her horses.

"All the years of being out in the cold weather with them, in the rain and the wind, have taken their toll. But in our house it has always been animals come first."

Rising costs for food and bedding and increased competition with other charities for financial donations have made the situation at the centre even more difficult.

Olive continued: "We have had to rally around our supporters to get some extra help.

" I have to give credit to the people who have carried on the work for me.

"Should the current trend continue, then I fear for the future of the sanctuary and having decisions to make that really do not bear thinking about.

"This has been my life. It means everything to me, and to a lot of other people as well."

Olive began her animal charity work two decades ago when she flew to Spain to protest against bull fighting.

She set up the sanctuary in 1989.

Olive added: "With time on my hands I can reflect on all the work put in here at the sanctuary and I feel that what has been achieved is something we can be proud of."

To find out how to donate money to the charity contact the Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary on 01254 235559.