Our Patrons



We were delighted to welcome actor John Nettles as our charity patron in July 2014. The Bergerac, Midsomer Murders and Poldark 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 in 1969, John  became a household name playing the Jersey detective Jim Bergerac and the straight talking DCI Tom Barnaby in ITV’s Midsomer Murders. Both series ran throughout the 1980s and 90s and were huge hits all over the world making him a household name and one of the nation’s most beloved actors.

John was the perfect choice for patron. As well as  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.




Broadcaster Angela Rippon CBE joined the Sanctuary this year (2019) as Patron, following our merger with South West Equine Protection.

She said: “The Mare & Foal Sanctuary does a terrific job in protecting the welfare of horses and ponies, through their rescue and support services, and their education programmes. I am delighted to be able to support their work as a Patron.”

She joins patron and actor John Nettles, who joined the Sanctuary in 2014.

Ms Rippon was born in Plymouth and started her career as a presenter on BBC Spotlight before heading to London in 1975 to become the first woman journalist to permanently front the national Nine O’Clock News.

Since then she has presented a host of TV programmes, from the first two seasons of Top Gear to Come Dancing.

Most recently she has co-presented the BBC consumer shows Rip Off Britain and Holiday Hit Squad.

Ms Rippon has been a keen horsewoman.