Hopefield Animal Sanctuary was founded in 1983 by Paula and Ernie Clark. It had been the coldest winter for 20 years and the stories of ponies and cobs being abandoned by their owners on Rainham marshes were hitting the headlines. Paula, a doctor’s receptionist, was already raising money for other sanctuaries, and at home in tears over the story of these poor horses. When Ernie returned home from work, Paula showed him what was happening and it was from this moment on that they vowed to take action and help the animals that needed them. A decision that would change the lives of so many animals forever.
Paula and Ernie went down to the marshes where 16 horses were already dead and the others were starving. They took tanks of water to them, bales of hay and feed. They even got the vet to examine some of them. Paula and Ernie started to raise money to buy the horses and move them to other sanctuaries and helped them to raise funds.