Team Spotlight on Esme Fordham

Hello! I‘m Esme and I have been a volunteer at Remus for about seven years now, although I have been a member for many years.

I love animals and help Sue to continue all the hard work and achievements she has made and devoted her life to, and to take the Sanctuary forward.

My role is overseeing volunteers, organising Afternoon Teas and other fundraising and making sure all the merchandise is ready for all our events, such as Open Days and Stock Village Hall. I also keep stock of the merchandise and uniform for staff and volunteers.

I also feed the cats on certain days, and the various birds who come and visit us; I sometimes sort out any bric-a-brac that we’ve received. Occasionally I help Sue and the vet with the horses and in the office with post, filing and some computer work – there’s always something that needs doing!

I also organise all the medications each week for all the animals who need them. Animals are just the most wonderful creatures on our planet but are so abused by so many, it’s great to help Sue in any way I can.

Oh I forgot to say I’m also a glorified tea maker! 😁

On a personal note, I am 82 years old on the outside and 45 on the inside! Most of my life I worked in an office but for 10 years had a workshop and did china painting.

I’ve always had dogs through the years who have been just wonderful getting me through thick and thin! But now I have taken a sick cat from the Sanctuary – George – to look after at home who is a little treasure. You can see me pictured with Ollie Dog when the lane got flooded – sadly a regular occurrence here! It means we have to walk into the Sanctuary when the cars can’t get through.

I’m also very proud to have been awarded Volunteer of the Year by Horse and Hound last year, which you can read here.

Meet the rest of the Remus team here.

Celebrating Volunteers Week 2021

This week we’re celebrating the difference volunteers make to our charity and thanking them for all their time and dedication during this year’s Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1-7 June. Furthermore, this 37th annual Volunteers’ Week is taking place during #MonthOfCommunity!

Volunteers don’t get paid.
Not because they are worthless.
Because they are priceless!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our volunteers for all their hard work and generosity.

Meet Esme who was announced as Horse & Hound Volunteer of the Year 2020!

Did you know?

  • 4 million people volunteered through a group, club or organisation during 2018/19.
  • More than half of the population gets involved in informal ways of volunteering.
  • Most people have formally volunteered at some point in their lives, dipping in and out of involvement over time.
  • Volunteers get involved in different ways, reflecting their lifestyles, values and priorities.
  • A small proportion of volunteering takes place via employers, mostly in large organisations.

Like many charities we have suffered tremendously as a result of the pandemic, not just financially, but because our volunteers were not able to visit and help us. At an animal sanctuary, work goes on as normal whatever the situation as the animals still need feeding, caring for, exercising and more.

There are lots and lots of ways you can help us here at the Sanctuary and please do check out our two web pages on both volunteering and microvolunteering. We love to welcome teams from businesses too, a day at a working yard is great for team building! Hopefully it won’t be long before we can welcome everyone back to the Sanctuary without needing to observe social distancing etc.

If you’d like to visit the Sanctuary, view our events page on the website.

#VolunteersWeek and #MonthOfCommunity

Remus Member Announced as Horse & Hound Volunteer of the Year 2020

Sue Burton, founder of Remus Horse Sanctuary is delighted to share that volunteer Esme Fordham has been awarded ‘Volunteer of the Year’ in the Horse & Hound Awards for 2020, sponsored by Dengie. Mrs Fordham was shortlisted and the winners announced on 8 December.

Mrs Fordham started volunteering at the Sanctuary in 2013 when, at age 74, she was recovering from cancer. Ms Burton recalls, “I remember Esme visiting one evening to bottle feed Jess the mule. She said, ‘if only I was younger, I would be able to help.’ Now, 7 years later, her help has become invaluable.

Esme Fordham, now 81 years of age, has been a member of the Sanctuary for many years. She provides assistance by helping in the office, overseeing the volunteers and much of the fundraising, including organisation of the popular Afternoon Teas which are held during the summer months.

“The award is to recognise the sacrifices made by those wonderful volunteers who enable countless others to enjoy their horses, sport or profession week in, week out, through their incredible dedication and selfless actions – and this is certainly true of Esme,” said Ms Burton.

The Horse & Hounds Awards, in partnership with NAF, have been virtual this year and the innovation means equestrian fans around the world can be part of the celebration.

The awards video can be viewed on the Horse & Hound website at: Volunteer of the Year is included within the first video on the page and can be found at 20:22.

This year’s awards celebrate the heroes of the past decade (2011–2020) in elite equestrian sport, while honouring the unsung stars who have helped our industry, our horses and our spirits during this unusual year. Award winners are nominated and voted for by the public and anyone is welcome to nominate the person, group or horse they feel deserves recognition.

Mrs Fordham said, “I’m delighted and honoured to have won this Award and I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me.  I am proud to be associated with Remus and be involved in the wonderful work they do.”

For further information, visit or contact Sue Burton on tel: 01277 356191.

Microvolunteering for Remus

Would you like to help Remus Horse Sanctuary but don’t think you have the time – you can, if you become a microvolunteer!

Have you got a minute to microvolunteer for Remus?

We totally understand that everyone leads very busy lives nowadays, what with work and family commitments, so it can be really hard to find time for volunteering for the things you care about. But as a microvolunteer you can help us as little or as much as you like!

What is a microvolunteer?

The idea behind microvolunteering is that lots of us do a little bit and it adds up to something that makes a big difference. You’ve probably already taken part in microvolunteering without even realising it – maybe you’ve signed an online petition or retweeted a charity’s message. However, microvolunteering doesn’t just happen in the virtual world, remember when you walked a friend’s dog for them because they were sick, or helped an elderly neighbour with their shopping? All of these things are forms of microvolunteering.

Whether it’s a couple of minutes, an hour or so, or even a weekend, there are lots of ways to help Remus Horse Sanctuary. Here’s a few ideas below, but take a look at our Microvolunteering web page to find out more.

Meet one of our microvolunteers

Linda Anthony started volunteering for us in 2019. Here’s her story…

Why does microvolunteering appeal to you?

Coming to the end of my office-based career I started putting plans in place for an active retirement. Micro-volunteering for several different charities gives me the variety that one never experiences in a normal day job. Micro-volunteering leaves me in control of when and what work I do.

What made you decide to offer a few hours of your time to Remus Horse Sanctuary?

There are many charities out there helping vulnerable, elderly and disabled people but not so many charities offering the same help to vulnerable, elderly and disabled horses. Being an animal lover myself it seemed a perfect fit.

What was it about the opportunity that appealed to you?

When you micro-volunteer you are pretty much your own boss and can schedule when and how much work you want to do. I enjoy the work I am doing for Remus Horse Sanctuary and most weeks put in more than a couple of hours, but that’s my choice.

What benefits do you get from volunteering?

The buzz I get when I am successful in raising funds for Remus Horse Sanctuary is far greater than any job satisfaction I received in a very long career. Also volunteering for Remus Horse Sanctuary has given me the opportunity, at my age, to learn a new skill to keep the old grey matter in tiptop working order. But on top of all that I have met some wonderful dedicated people.

What would you say to anyone thinking of offering their time to help Remus Horse Sanctuary?

If you have time on your hands, don’t waste it in front of the TV. Find a cause you are passionate about and get involved. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve by donating a couple of hours micro-volunteering.

To find out more about microvolunteering with Remus and ideas for 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 2 hours of your time, please take a look at our web page.

Shout about it!

Every time you do something to help us, it makes life that little bit better for our animals. So let’s hear about it! Post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget to tag us in as @RemusHorse on Twitter or @RemusHorseSanctuary on Facebook and Instagram. Use the hashtag #LoveRemus and we can repost your photos, selfies and posts to raise even more awareness for Remus Horse Sanctuary.

Thank you for your valued support!


#YouMadeItHappen is a social media campaign created by NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) who champion the voluntary sector and volunteering because they’re essential for a better society.

It is taking place on Monday 19 November.

The NCVO recognise that what people want to hear about from charities, is the difference their support has made, so we’ve put together just a few lines of ways in which you help us!

  • When little Dante was dumped at our gates in 2015, we were able to give him the medical attention, food, time, care and love that he needed for him to grow into a strong and healthy adult.
  • When a gust of wind in 2016, demolished one of our much-needed field shelters for our animals, you helped us replace it.
  • When we rescued 2 horses from Kent that had been in a field for 14 weeks with no food, water or attention, your support helped us to do so. Sadly we lost Lady as she was just too sick and too malnourished, but Blax is thriving.
  • When we needed to rescue 8 horses this summer that were all sick and malnourished, including 4 stallions that had been kept in closed dirty stables for two years, you helped us.
  • When we rescued the two blind and pregnant mares Holly and Grace, who then gave birth to Bracken and Jess, your support enabled us not only to do so, but to give them the attention they needed to thrive into young and healthy adults and to provide a special, protective area for Holly and Grace to spend time outside safely.
  • When Tony Goat came to us with half his jaw hanging off, you enabled us to fix him!
  • When Pippa and Minstral needed specialist eye operations, you helped us raise the funds to pay for their medical care.

These are just a few of the ways in which you help Remus every day – in fact we could not continue to do what we do without you! We get no grants and can only stay afloat by fundraising and the support offered to us by volunteers.

This year we celebrated our 35th Anniversary #YouMadeItHappen!

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Remus, visit the web page here and, if you’re not already doing so, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter too.

You might also like to take a look at our Winter Feed Appeal for 2018.

We look forward to hearing from you!

How Can I Help?

Our team of volunteers are vital to the work of Remus Horse Sanctuary. They help to raise money, care for animals, welcome visitors, highlight our work and even help maintain the premises. Our volunteers go the extra mile and ensure that all of our animals, large or small, live a long and loving life with nothing asked of them.

If you would like to support the Sanctuary by volunteering, please complete an Application Form and send it to the Sanctuary or contact the office to discuss volunteering on tel: 01277 356191.

​Here are just some of the things you can do to help us:

Fundraisers wanted to organise events, street collections and raffle ticket sales.

Event Volunteers are essential to ensure our events run smoothly throughout the year. Can you help us to promote the event through leafleting and distributing posters? Perhaps you could help out at our Open Days and other events, run specific projects, sort bric-a-brac, maintain merchandise stocks and pricing. (You can also visit our Fundraising page to find out how you could organise your own event.)

Volunteer Coordinator needed to help develop and oversee our volunteer programme including recruitment, selection, training, allocation of duties, setting up of and maintaining a social calendar.

PA or Secretary wanted to assist in busy office, managing diary, note taking, handling paperwork to a high standard. We also need people to help stuff envelopes at least twice a year.

Enrichment Volunteers wanted to help provide enrichment to the animals including socialisation, toys, games and observation.

Gardener wanted to care for the Sanctuary garden, such as mowing the lawn, keeping the troughs planted and watered.

Conservation Officer to oversee the upkeep of the Sanctuary conservation areas including the hedgerow, ponds, maintaining wildlife area, keeping a list of birds and wildlife seen and erection of bat boxes. Many BTO red and endangered birds have been seen on site.

Graphic Designer to assist with posters for our events, online graphics and the occasional leaflet. Will be fully briefed by our Marketing Expert and should be able to work remotely.

IT or Computer Expert wanted to maintain office computers and laptops ensuring backing-up and maintenance.

Photographer to take good quality images suitable for advertising, PR and print work, and website. To document what happens at the Sanctuary, how the animals progress and equally the cute and cuddly shots to help with our fundraising. Video would be a bonus!

Drivers wanted to collect and drop off items in the local area.

Maintenance Person to help oversee the upkeep of fixtures and fittings with some bigger projects, such as concreting. Additionally, people required to help clean and paint the stables and buildings before winter.

Groundsman wanted to help oversee the land ensuring weed control and fencing kept in good repair.

Please note that due to the demand from youngsters to help at the Sanctuary we have a very long waiting list and it can be quite a lengthy process to get children onto the Young Volunteer Scheme.

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