4 December 2023

International Volunteer Day: Meet our supporters

This International Volunteer Day, Brooke spotlights the devoted work of some of its supporters, who work tirelessly to give working horses, donkeys and mules a life worth living.

Without them, Brooke could not provide as much relief, compassion and community for working animals - giving them hope for a bright future.

Louise and Michael

Louise and Michael Brown, a committed husband and wife team from a London and West Kent volunteer fundraising group, have raised over £100,000 for Brooke over the last 16 years. 

Based in Tunbridge Wells, the duo have organised countless fundraising activities, from collections to table top sales, as well as hosting a stand at Wellington International Horse Trials. 

Louise has also put her infamous knitting talents to use, having noticed a growing desire for handmade gifts and toys over her 12 years of fundraising. Louise’s hand knitted animals have raised over £30,000 for Brooke, and £1,500 at Wellington Horse Trials alone this year. With demand growing constantly, she has recruited a craft team who work around the clock to create bespoke knitted animals, sold in aid of Brooke. 

Louise said: “I started making my own things to sell for Brooke…I have knitted a huge range of animals but dogs, cats and donkeys are the most popular. It’s very rewarding.”

The funds raised by Louise and Michael will help Brooke to provide vital healthcare for over 12,000 working animals in Battu, Ethiopia. 

If you are a keen knitter, or based in Kent and would like to support Brooke or this project specifically, contact [email protected]

Jenny Lack

Jenny Lack, a former maths teacher from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, has raised over £15,000 in the past 12 months to raise awareness of Brooke’s work. 

Jenny volunteers her time at Ludlow Market amongst other venues to sell donated goods, much of which has come from house clearances as well as her own cards made with pressed wild flowers, of which she sells around 700 per year.

When visiting Brooke’s work in Egypt with her daughter, Jenny saw first-hand the struggles faced by many working equines and their owners, who rely heavily on these animals to put food on their tables, earn a living and send their children to school. Sadly, these animals can often suffer, and Brooke works to make long-lasting improvements to their welfare. Jenny uses the photos she took in Egypt during the talks she gives about Brooke's work to local communities.

Jenny, whose own Welsh cob is now retired, has been a keen Brooke supporter for over 35 years. After retiring in 2007, she first hit local headlines by collecting old Capri Sun packets from local schools and sewing them into shopping bags, to be sold in Shrewsbury. In 2009, she became a market trader in Ludlow and now has a regular stall, which is free thanks to the generosity of Ludlow Council.

Jenny said: “I have a passion for recycling and reusing at my stall. I have sold everything from footstools and fire screens to false teeth! 

 “I enjoy talking to people about Brooke’s work - the types of problems that Brooke sees are often caused by poverty and ignorance. I like the fact that Brooke helps people as well as animals. Education is so important particularly with young people.”

Elaine and Tricia

Cumbria-based Elaine Brown and Tricia Graham, members of the Penrith and North Lakes volunteer group, have supported Brooke for over 10 years, raising over £11,000 for working animals by hosting afternoon teas, stands at local shows and street collections. 

To support Brooke’s Every Horse Remembered campaign, Elaine and Tricia came up with the idea of knitting purple poppies, a symbol created in 2006 to remember animals lost in conflict. The group now supports Brooke by knitting poppies to honour heroic working animals and raise money for the charity. 

Established in 1934, Brooke’s humble beginnings started after WW1 when its founder, Dorothy Brooke, began to take care of ex-war horses in Egypt. Each November, Brooke takes time to honour and reflect on the heroic struggle of working animals of the past and present, and help build better lives for future generations.

Elaine said: “Brooke is such a worthwhile charity as they help millions of donkeys, horses and people all over the world. They teach veterinary skills and educate people how to care for their animals, so as to make life better for them.”

Learn more about the many ways you can support Brooke, here