Mud, Toil & Tears – Bleakholt’s early years

Irene Macauley (Priestley) wrote this book about the Sanctuary’s early years from 1967 – 1969 and it is an account of daily life at Bleakholt from the point of view of one of the kennel maids during two difficult years of our Sanctuary’s early history. Fully illustrated, with contemporary documents, photographs and drawings, this memoir describes what Bleakholt was like fifty years ago and is a tribute to all those who founded and supported the Sanctuary sixty years ago.

Joanne Sparkes, Irene’s niece, has arranged for a 2nd publication on Amazon of this fascinating book and Irene has asked for all royalties from the sale of the book to come to Bleakholt. This is what Joanne has to say:

“10 years ago my Auntie Irene wrote a book, based on a journal that she’d kept for 2 years whilst working as a kennel maid at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary between 1967 and 1969. Bleakholt, situated on a hillside overlooking the Rossendale Valley, is a charity that cares for unwanted dogs, cats, other small pets, horses, donkeys and farm animals.

Her book tells the story of what Bleakholt was like fifty years ago and pays tribute to those who founded it. There’s wonderful stories of the dogs living there and being cared for at the time – tales of dogs escaping, fire breaking out in the straw tip and visits from the Duchess of Argyll and Miss Great Britain – and it’s illustrated with photographs and her own drawings.

My aunt printed the first edition herself and raised quite a lot of money from the sale proceeds to make a donation. For a while I’ve been promising to get it published on Amazon so she can continue to donate to a charity very close to her heart and, in time for her recent 80th birthday, it’s done at last!

All royalties from the book will be donated to Bleakholt. That’s about £5 for every copy whether you choose the paperback or Kindle version. Sadly, the need for such a refuge for unwanted and ill-treated animals does not diminish.”

Click here to take at look at this wonderful book and purchase it on Amazon

Fantastic pic of Irene working at Bleakholt with building work going on in the background


More about Irene

Irene was born and grew up in Bury, Lancashire. After attending Bury High School and Art Colleges in Bury and in Lancaster she became a talented Graphic Artist in Manchester. Having tired of the noise, traffic and crowds the lure of working in the open air and with animals led Irene to Bleakholt. Since leaving Bury Irene has been living in Cumbria, happily married for fifty years to her Art College sweetheart. Out of journals and drawings, made at the time Irene was at Bleakholt, grew this book which was first published in 2008 to raise funds for the Sanctuary at the time of its 50th Anniversary.

We would like to send our love and a massive thank you to Irene who is still supporting us

2020-12-03T17:03:14+00:00December 3rd, 2020|Featured, News|0 Comments

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