May volunteer of the month - Leone Martin, Exmoor

Leone Martin from Sampford Brett has been fundraising for Brooke since 2005, personally raising over £60,000 for the charity during that time, and well over £120,000 along with her Exmoor volunteer group members. 

A firm believer in the power of re-cycling, Leone has raised a great deal of money for Brooke by selling used tack at local shows, car boot sales and eBay. She said: “I have very rarely thrown anything away and will match up pieces from different bridles to make a complete bridle. The leather from old saddles can be stripped off and sold for craft work. All the items I sell have been donated, and I am often amazed at the generosity of some people who have given very expensive saddles, new bridles, antique memorabilia, all sorts of things, often with fond memories attached, because they are keen to help support The Brooke.”

She adds: “I also sell horse-related things such as boot pulls, pictures and jewellery, and vintage hunting whips which I recondition and sell on to raise good funds for Brooke, and small stirrups are always in good demand from people who make rocking horses.”

In fact, even Leone can sometimes be surprised by the things that can be reused.

At one point I had an ancient saddle which was totally beyond any future use so I chucked it on the bonfire pile. I was then contacted by a lady from a local pub who was looking for items to display in the pub and as she arrived she immediately saw the saddle, plucked it from the heap of rubbish saying it was exactly what she wanted –she gave a donation to Brooke and took it away.

Leone first heard about Brooke through her mother who was a dedicated Brooke supporter, before a chance meeting with Exmoor Group Leader Rita Tremain inspired her to get involved. She said: “Rita is one of the loveliest people I know. She is always so positive and optimistic, and she is always so encouraging. I must also give huge thanks to Gill Grimwood, from Exford, who always accompanies me to the shows and helps me sell the tack.”

Leone and the Exmoor group are part of a large network of volunteers fundraising for Brooke around the UK. Money raised from volunteers goes towards Brooke’s work across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, making lasting improvements to the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depend on them.

If you’re interested in volunteering or joining a group, please email [email protected].