Vegan athlete Fiona Oakes' Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary is facing closure due to finance issues.
Fiona Oakes is one of the world's most accomplished vegan athletes, as a four-times world record holder in distance running. She has completed some of the toughest endurance running challenges on earth including the formidable Marathon des Sables, the Antarctic Ice Marathon, and the North Pole Marathon. She has done all of this while missing a knee cap.
On top of her brutal training regime, Oakes is a volunteer firefighter, and operates Tower Hill Animal Sanctuary with its almost 500 animals.
Despite these staggering accomplishments, Oakes 'remains relatively unknown/supported within the vegan community and virtually unknown in the wider community' according to an appeal on her sanctuary's Facebook page.
"It is with much sadness and regret that I must advise that we have hit the end of the road," says the post. "Fiona's mission to rescue as many animals as possible and to promote the cruelty-free lifestyle in her unique and awe-inspiring way of the past 25 years looks like it is over.
"We are so grateful to all our supporters who have helped us with the feed bills over the years, but tragically the level of support is simply not enough for us to continue on. Despite Fiona's incredible athletic achievements gained in the face of chronic disability, she remains relatively unknown/supported within the vegan community and virtually unknown in the wider community - the UK’s most accomplished athlete that no-one has ever heard of."
Last year, Oakes was the star of documentary Running for Good, directed by Cowspiracy and What the Health co-director Keegan Kuhn. Oakes had hoped the film would help with fundraising by reaching a wide audience.
"Despite our and the producers best efforts this has not happened – frustratingly everyone who has seen it has been blown away by Fiona’s accomplishments and many of those have gone on to donate to the sanctuary, but again the numbers are painfully low and not just enough to make the difference we needed to make the animal sanctuary work," said the post.
In addition, the Tower Hill's team had hoped that Oakes' inclusion in the upcoming James Cameron documentary The Game Changers would help, 'but having been edited out from the final cut, this now will not happen leaving poor Fiona to reside in relative obscurity'.
Tower Hill Animal Sanctuary is now appealing for donations, to help cover the running costs of the farm site which 'have escalated beyond initial expectations as the amount of work required to turn it into the sanctuary is colossal'.
Without raising a significant amount of money, the sanctuary will be forced to close.