Former Hollyoaks and Emmerdale actress, Gemma Atkinson, will be in town this weekend for a special open day event.

The soap star-turned-fitness model, who also appeared in last year's Strictly Come Dancing, is opening Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary's new kennel block on Sunday.

Gemma, who now hosts the Hits Radio Breakfast Show, is the president of the Edenfield sanctuary, which relies solely on donations and is dependant on volunteers to help keep it running.

She said: "I am delighted to open the new kennel block. I have two dogs of my own who live in luxury and these kennels have really brought Bleakholt into a new era.

"Obviously we would prefer all the animals to be in homes but, while waiting, these new kennels will make a difference to the lives of the dogs housed here."

The Bury Old Road sanctuary looks after cats, dogs and small animals before they are rehomed.

It also houses horses, goats, sheep and donkeys, all of which live out their lives at the sanctuary.

Last year, Bleakholt helped to rehome 1,200 animals, and celebrated its 60th anniversary with big plans to modernise the sanctuary.

Gemma will officially open nine new kennels, which have under floor heating and luxury sleeping quarters for dogs that are on the hunt for their forever homes.

The new kennel block will join onto the dog’s hospital, which has a further seven spaces.

The construction is part of a significant £1m Dog Centre redevelopment, and this first stage of modernisation cost £350,000, all of which has been funded through donations and legacies from animal lovers.

Sanctuary Manager Karen Weed said: "The new kennels are designed to meet the needs of the dogs and give them a place they can feel safe while they wait for their forever home."

Bleakholt's Open Day will take place on Sunday November 25 from 12pm until 4pm.

Guests will be able to get involved with a range of activities as well as having the opportunity to get up close and personal with rescue owls from The Owls Trust.

Gemma will be at the event from 1pm.

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