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Our Patron

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Visitor Centre Manager Tracy Gray with Jessica and John Nettles

We were delighted to welcome actor John Nettles as our charity patron in July 2014. The Bergerac and Midsomer Murders star is best known for his turns on screen, but his help to publicise our work has also been invaluable.

From his early beginnings in the UK hit comedy The Liver Birds (1969), Nettles became a household name playing the Jersey detective “Jim Bergerac”. The series, Bergerac (1981), was a huge hit in Britain and was exported to many countries across the world, gaining him thousands of fans.

Nettles’ polished Shakespearean performances have won him critical acclaim, but most recently he has enjoyed continued success playing the straight-talking DCI Tom Barnaby in ITV’s “Midsomer Murders” (1997).

John was the perfect choice for patron as, on top of his status as a national treasure, he and his wife Cathy have had two Sanctuary ponies on loan, Pan and Avalon, at their home in North Devon since 2011. After John kindly accepted our invitation to be patron, we welcomed them both here for a tour of our sites and a chance to see first-hand our work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming horses in need.

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From the tranquility of South Manor to the busy training schedule of the Visitor Centre at Coombe Park, John said how impressed he was with the work undertaken at the Sanctuary as he was shown around. His experience and ease with people and horses helped us to gain a huge amount of media coverage, and we regularly welcome him and Cathy back for events, appearances and purely for their own pleasure.

We are incredibly grateful to John for accepting our invitation to be patron and we look forward to maintaining a long and happy relationship.