A UNIVERSITY of Sunderland graduate is pledging more than £17,000 of his own money to help a County Durham animal sanctuary which has fallen on hard times.
Stan Johnson, 63, is to use his retirement money to help Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary, in Willington, from going out of business.
Mr Johnson, who worked in a pharmecutical factory for 14 years before leaving to complete a degree on Wearside, has been a champion of animal rights for a number of years and has travelled across Europe to support protests with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
He said: “It could close quite soon.
“I just love animals and have campaigned for a lot of years, since 1993 in fact.
“It’s £17,300, which is my retirement money.
“I know it’s a substantial amount but I think it’s something worth doing for the animals.
“I am not too concerned about getting the money back as long as the animals are safe and looked after.
“It’s a lot of money but it doesn’t matter.”
The sanctuary, which is home to birds, ferrets, cats, chickens and exotic birds, has been based at Milkup Bank Farm, in Willington, for nine years.
Paula Campbell, who runs Rainbow Ark, is upset by its plight and urged others to follow Stan’s example by donating money.
Ms Campbell said the harsh winter has had a hugely detrimental effect on business at Rainbow Ark.
However, she is hopeful that wildlife lovers will help out with the problems.
“I have given my life for this,” she said.
“If people think I am going to pack a bag and walk away then they’re wrong.
“I’m not giving up without a fight.”
Ms Campbell added: “If people want us here, then help us.”
To support Ms Campbell, go to www.fx-1.co.uk/rainbow.