Uckfield people rally to help Australia

Uckfield people are coming together to help families and wildlife suffering in devastating bush fires in Australia.

There’s a major event at Crockstead Equestrian Centre this evening, pouches and liners are being made to comfort wildlife at rescue centres, and donations are being made through the sale of Aussie burgers at two pubs.

Charlotte Horscroft manager at the equestrian centre decided, at short notice, to hold a dressage event and it has grown into much more, now open to the wider community as well as the equine world.

Joe Bright, a big name in the dressage world, riding Woden at a previous event in the Crockstead arena. Picture: PDG-Event Photography.

An appeal for goods for a tombola was hugely successful and Crockstead Farm Hotel is cooking vegetable curry, chicken curry, and soup so that people can have supper as they come together.

Charlotte said: “There will be hot and cold drinks, wine, a bar, and food, so people will be able to relax and enjoy themselves.” 

All are welcome, from 4-8pm, and she is hoping the evening will raise about £2,000 for the Australian Wildfires Charity.


Charlotte said: “After the statement was issued regarding charities and how many homes were burned, how much wildlife had died, or was really suffering, how many hectares of fires there were, it really hit home what was happening.

“Everybody feels they want to do something to help but nobody knows what they can do. Now we are able to get people together, involving the equine community and everybody else, in one evening, and we feel we are doing our bit.”

Charlotte said they were very grateful to people from Uckfield, Crowborough, Hailsham, Lewes and surrounding areas for the incredible prizes they have given.

Aussie burger

At The Highlands Inn, Uckfield, and The Cock Inn, Ringmer, a special Aussie Beef Burger has been added to the menu and for every Aussie burger bough a £2 donation will be sent to the Australian Bushfire Appeal.

So far £100 has been raised and they hope to be able to hand over £300 at the end of January.

Aussie burgers on the menu at The Highlands Inn, Uckfield, and The Cock Inn, Ringmer, to raise funds for Australia.

Nests, pouches, and liners

Elsewhere people in Uckfield are making nests, pouches, and liners, for animals and birds rescued from the fires. They are being helped in turn by donations of fabric from others in town.

So far Nikki Venus-Smith has crocheted three nests and two pouches, has another pouch on the hook and is hoping to get more done over the weekend, which will be used by birds, mice and other smaller animals.

Nikki’s crocheted nests and pouch.

Nikki said she was heartbroken to read about and see the wildfires and injured animals. Her husband said he was surprised she wasn’t crocheting for the animals and tagged her in after seeing an article on Facebook calling for crafters to make mittens, bat wraps, joey pouches, pouches and nests. That started her crocheting and now she is pleased to be helping with the appeal.

She joined the UK Crafters for Australia Animal Rescue Effort Facebook group which now has more than 24,000 members and along with them is working towards a deadline of January 26 so that stock can be taken of progress so that only the things that are needed are sent out to Australia.

Anything not needed will go to animal charities in this country.


Also using her crafting skills and working towards the January 26 deadline is Sarah Leppard who has so far made nine pouches, and 27 liners.

She too joined the UK Crafters for Australia Animal Rescue Effort. She dug out her sewing machine from the loft, found fabric in a charity shop and collected, from her wardrobe, pyjama bottoms and T-shirts.

Sarah Leppard and some of the pouches she has made.

She asked on Facebook for any unwanted sheets/duvets, especially flannelette, or brushed cotton, as the liners can only be made from 100% natural fibres.

She was thrilled to have donations from two people she doesn’t know and is spending her spare time sewing.

Sarah said: “It’s just nice to know I have contributed in some small way as we don’t all have money to spare unfortunately.”

Ready to go, pouches and liners made by Sarah for animals in Australia. More are on the way.

Are you helping Australia too? Tell us what you are doing and send photos to cathy@uckfieldnews.com to add to our story.

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