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Rare edition of Black Beauty raises vital funds for Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:57 22 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:57 22 December 2017

Sue Day showing Redwings horse Callisto the Black Beauty book. Pictures: Redwings

Sue Day showing Redwings horse Callisto the Black Beauty book. Pictures: Redwings

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A rare hardback edition of Anna Sewell’s novel Black Beauty has raised vital funds for Redwings Horse Sanctuary at auction.

The limited 1915 edition of Black Beauty was donated to Redwings. Pictures: RedwingsThe limited 1915 edition of Black Beauty was donated to Redwings. Pictures: Redwings

The 1915 edition, complete with colour illustrations by equestrian painter Lucy Kemp-Welch, was donated to the charity by a supporter who asked that it be sold to help care for horses in need.

The amount raised has not been disclosed by Redwings, but a spokesman said it could pay for enough hay to feed almost 100 rescued horses over Christmas.

A silent auction ran from July to November and the highest bidder was Sue Day, from Suffolk, who runs her own business providing horse drawn carriages. She has just set up a society in celebration of Anna Sewell’s life and said: “I want this book to be for the society, to be shared with those who have a similar interest in her life.

“Redwings offers horses the opportunity to live in homes on loan. Some might be rehomed as companions to other horses, while others lead fulfilling lives being ridden.

The classic novel is celebrating its 140th anniversary. Pictures: RedwingsThe classic novel is celebrating its 140th anniversary. Pictures: Redwings

“Their guardians also have the opportunity to continue their training in their new homes and, where appropriate, can go on to be driven. This I wholly approve of, and I believe Anna Sewell would have believed in this approach too.”

Anna Sewell was born in 1820 in Great Yarmouth, and wrote Black Beauty while living in Old Catton. She died a few months after the novel’s publication in 1877.

The book was placed on public display at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell over the summer as part of its own special exhibition celebrating the 140th anniversary of the publication of Black Beauty, which was marked on November 24.

Redwings, whose headquarters are south of Norwich and has five visitor centres across the country, cares for over 1,500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every day. The money raised from the auction could pay for thorough health checks for 20 new arrivals.

Redwings’ Chief Executive Lynn Cutress said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Sue for her wonderful bid, which will help us continue to provide vital care for our rescued residents.”

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