Travel agents launches Christmas collection to help animal sanctuary

Generous shoppers are being urged to back the latest annual Christmas collection by staff at Co-op Travel in Stretford Mall for a busy animal sanctuary.

Relying solely on donations from well-wishers, Animals in Distress (AID) runs two voluntary centres which care for a wide variety of creatures great and small, from cats and dogs to horses and donkeys and even rats, pigs guinea pigs, reptiles and a handful of peacocks.

Among its recent success stories is Daisy the cat who was in a terrible condition when she was rescued by AID a few months ago.   

The loveable tortoiseshell and white feline had hardly any fur left on her under-nourished body, she had a serious flea allergy problem and a cut on her side.

But thanks to plenty of tender loving care from AID, Daisy has made a full recovery and is now in need of a permanent new home.

Travel adviser Vikki Lomas explained that this will be the fourth year that she and fellow staff members at Co-op Travel in Stretford Mall have held their Christmas collection to benefit AID, which has sanctuaries at Irlam and Littleborough.

Vikki, 28, who has been closely involved with the collections since they began, said: “AID does a fantastic job looking after all kinds of animals but their work needs lots of support, which is why we are again running our collection to provide some extra help just before Christmas.

“It will start on November 1 and carry on until about the second week in December and once again we are encouraging our customers to help AID by donating things such as food, bedding, new collars and leads and even toys for the animals.

“We are also hoping there will be donations of cash, which is particularly important to cover the cost of vets’ bills and medicines which they animals need to keep them healthy.”

She added: “A group of us at the branch, who are all animal lovers, got together a few years and decided we’d do something to help AID.

“In the three years we have done it so far the annual collection has always gone down very well with our customers, lots of whom are animal lovers themselves.

“We’ll be setting up a big table at one end of the shop for people to leave their donations, and once it’s full the charity will send someone to pick up all the stuff.

“Last year people were so incredibly generous that we managed to collect eight shopping trollies and also a few bin bags all packed with goods over the course of about a month.

“We had people donating more than one thing. In fact, one elderly lady was coming in twice a week to bring in things such as food and treats. She must have been on a pension but that didn’t stop her doing as much as she could to help the animals.

“We’re hoping that our customers will be just as generous again this year and to collect even more stuff if possible.”

Colin McCrory, Stretford Mall Manager, said: “We can’t thank our shoppers enough for the support they give to Co-op Travel’s Christmas collection.

“It always gets such an amazing response and the fact it is now in its fourth year shows how our customers continue to give year after year.”

Catherine Durham, supervisor at the voluntary sanctuary in Irlam where Daisy the cat was taken, said: “We went out in our rescue van, which is on call 24/7, to pick her up and found she was in an appalling state.

“Daisy is an adult cat aged about five years old. She had been just dumped in the street. She had hardly any fur left and was suffering from a serious flea allergy. Somehow she had also suffered a cut on the side of her body.

“We brought her back to the sanctuary where she was given lots of attention.

“Her fur is now growing back, she’s putting on weight and we’ve had her neutered. In fact, she’s made a very good recovery and after all she has gone through is looking for someone to give her a loving new home.

“However, the vet’s bill in her case was around £300 – and that was just for one cat when we have many more in need of treatment.

“That’s why the annual collections by Co-op Travel at Stretford Mall are so important and we are very grateful to the team there for organising them.”

She added: “Apart from the other things they donated to us, last year’s collection brought in enough food for the various animals to last for about a month.

“So we hope that as many people as possible will support the collection this year.”

Catherine stressed that all potential new owners are thoroughly checked out by AID before being allowed to take their chosen animal.

To offer a new home to Daisy and other animals being cared for at the Irlam sanctuary, call 0161 775 2221. Go on to the Facebook page at

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