A HORSE sanctuary that was forced to close amidst an outbreak of strangles disease has re-opened.

Only Foals and Horses in Oswaldtwistle closed in October after two horses caught the highly contagious infection, much like the common cold in humans.

Visitors were told to stay away until further notice, with open days being cancelled at a cost of thousands of pounds.

But Only Foals and Horses will officially re-open to the public on Sunday.

Trustee of the rescue centre, Lyn Moir said: “We had three of our ponies contract strangles, but thankfully they are ok now.

“We actually re-opened on January 11 but wanted to host an event to officially let everyone know we are back up and running after a difficult few months.

“At the open day, people will be able to sponsor a pony, there’ll be stalls and a raffle, and they’ll also get the chance to meet our two newest additions - two donkeys called Merlin and Bobby.

“We took Merlin and Bobby in a couple of weeks ago and they’ve become like family.”

Last year, the sanctuary told supporters the stables would be shutting for a few weeks on vet’s advice.

However, weeks turned into months and a number of events were cancelled, resulting in the sanctuary, which relies on donations to keep it running, losing thousands.

Ms Moir said it was very upsetting as they worried about how they would cope throughout the winter but thanks to the support from well-wishers, they were able to get back on track for the re-opening.

A Just Giving Page was set up to help cover the costs and is still open should anyone wish to donate.

Ms Moir added: “We’re so grateful for all the support we received during this tough time.

“From setting up crowd-funding to donations at our charity shop.

“Every little bit goes to helping our sanctuary animals.”

The open day, which is free to attend, will be held on Sunday from 1-4pm.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/julia-walton-24?