IT WAS a case of Take That for Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary as Animal Friends gifted them auction tickets to see the band and a surprise cheque of £25,000.

Elaine and Chris Fairfax started Animal Friends Pet Insurance in the 1990s and the company has forged links with the Edenfield sanctuary over the last few years.

Elaine and Chris flew in from Jersey to meet Bleakholt president Gemma Atkinson and also have a tour around the sanctuary, which rehomes dogs, cats and small animals while pigs, goats, horses, donkeys and more live out their lives there.

The couple bid £1million for a private Take That concert at a Children In Need auction last year and have donated the performance to the Rainforest Ball for the Durrell Conservation Trust in Jersey in September, a charity which Animal Friends are big supporters of. A pair of tickets for the ball will be auctioned off for Bleakholt.

And they also handed over a cheque for £25,000 to surprise Bleakholt operations manager Stuart Murray.

“Both my parents were massive animal lovers which is why we wanted to come to Bleakholt,” said Elaine.

“We support a lot of charities and this one is a special one. It’s got a superb atmosphere, you can tell how much the people who work here love their animals and we like supporting good causes.

“We are only too happy to help Bleakholt and hope we can help to make a difference to the lives of the animals here.”

Actress, DJ and model Gemma Atkinsonm who is vice president of Bleakholt, said: “We were delighted to get the Take That tickets, especially as it’s Bleakholt’s 60th anniversary this year, but for Animal Friends to hand over a cheque for £25,000 as well is amazing.

"We didn’t expect it at all."

Stuart Murray said: “We rely on donations to run the sanctuary so this is a massive boost for us. Animal Friends have supported us with various projects over the years and they have become good friends of the sanctuary. We will be auctioning off the Take That tickets and will now put the £25,000 towards a project to make sure the animals at Bleakholt benefit.”