A SANCTUARY which protects and cares for wildlife in South Somerset is calling on the public to help them keep going during the lockdown.

South West Deer Rescue Centre, based near Crewkerne, relies entirely on income from visitors and supplies donations from local supermarkets.

The park is run by Mike Gage, with the aid of a team of volunteers.

One of these helpers, Michael Mayles, has even set up a JustGiving page in a bid to raise £3,000 for the centre.

He said: “The South West Deer Rescue Centre is solely funded by donations from visitors to the centre. They have no other funding resources.

“The current Covid-19 crisis has forced the closing of the centre to visitors, and of course, the donations from this source too.”

The centre was founded by Mike and Barbara Gage 10 years ago when permission to use the land off Dunsham Lane was kindly given by Barry and Charmaine Titchener of Mahe farm.

It now stretches over 80 acres, and in 2018 starred on BBC’s Countryfile.

Mr Mayles added: “Volunteers, myself included, assist Mike in the daily rounds and with the guided tours for visitors.

“Normally from spring onwards, the target is to raise sufficient funds to cover through the next winter period.

“The funds are used for supplementary winter food, welfare, vet fees, and site maintenance.”

So far, the JustGiving page has raised £2,000 towards their target, and is looking for another cash boost.

Mr Mayles said: “There are people who donate bags of fruit and vegetables to us, and also, Lidl in Chard who help out with out of date foodstuffs suitable for the deer.

“These donations are not enough to get through the winter, but, are very much appreciated and helpful to us in the overall running of the centre.

“When the lockdown gets lifted, come down and see them.

“There are about 138 Red, White, Sika, Axis, Muntjac and Fallow deer and you will understand our passion in taking care of them.”

For more information, you can visit the South West Deer Rescue Centre Facebook page.

If you would like to donate, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michael-mayles.