ABANDONED and neglected animals will benefit from a huge supply of food and blankets donated by generous customers of a Stretford travel agents.

More than six trolley loads of supplies have been collected by staff at Co-operative Travel in Stretford Mall who organised a third Christmas collection for the needy residents of Animals in Distress.

The charity, which has sanctuaries in Irlam and Littleborough, is home to a huge number of neglected and ill-treated animals, from chickens and reptiles to cats, dogs and chipmunks. At the site in Littleborough, there are also larger animals including horses, donkeys, goats, pigs and even owls.

The fantastic array of food, toys, treats, hand knitted blankets, collars and animal bedding has now all been collected by the charity.

It will help animals such as Chewie, a young Yorkshire terrier cross who was left tied up to a drain pipe outside Animals in Distress shortly before Christmas with a badly broken back leg and a severely matted coat.

He was named by staff at the sanctuary because he looked like he had been chewed up when he first arrived with them - badly injured and very forlorn.

Vikki Lomas, of Co-operative Travel in Stretford Mall, said: “We love doing the collection for the sanctuary because the response from our customers is always so amazing and it gives you a lovely feeling seeing generosity on this scale.

“We have had everything donated including food, hamster bedding, collars, bowls, treats, even £50 in cash.

“One lady hand knitted blankets for them and we really can’t thank our customers enough for their terrific support.

“Even though it is an expensive time of year and people were saving for Christmas, they were still so incredibly generous and we can’t thank them enough.”

Joining in her thanks to kind Stretford Mall customers was Colin McCrory, Stretford Mall mmanager, who said: “The scale of the collection for these distressed animals is testament to the generosity of our loyal Stretford Mall shoppers and the support of the Co-operative Travel staff who all go out of their way to make sure it is a success.

“It is heart warming to see how much they have collected and I think it must be a lifeline to charity staff who all work so hard to look after these distressed animals.”

Mel Dunn, manager of Animals in Distress who has worked with the charity for 20 years, said: “The help and support we receive from Co-operative Travel every year is fantastic and I can’t thank the people who donate enough.

“Such a huge collection of food and supplies like this means we can use the very limited funds we have to cover weekly vet bills at the sanctuaries which often run into thousands of pounds.

“Take poor little Chewie for example. It cost a fortune to set his broken leg and make sure it healed properly. Fortunately he now has a lovely new home but we still have lots of other animals who need our help.

“Only a few days ago I took in four horses which an owner didn’t want anymore and they all need food, care and attention.

“It’s a constant struggle to find the money to cover all our costs and so Co-operative Travel’s collection is so welcome.”

To find out more about animals which need rehoming at Animals in Distress call Mel on 01706 371731 or email fieldofdreams@btconnect.com Visit the website – www.animals-in-distress.net to also find out more.