An Ashbourne rescue charity is inviting animal lovers to join them for a pair of Christmas events and bring some festive joy to small, furry hearts.
Ashbourne Animal Welfare is hosting its free winter open weekend at The Ark on Wyaston Road, November 25-26, 11am to 4pm.
It is a chance for visitors to look around, meet the cats and dogs currently living at the centre and help to fill their stockings.
Volunteer Wanda Mielczarek said: “There will be a collection for the cats and dogs’ Christmas dinner and donations of food, toys or, of course, money will be greatly appreciated.
“The cats and dogs in residence are all looking forward to having visitors and of course would love to be chosen for adoption.”
Volunteers will be serving visitors festive food at lunchtime and teatime, and selling gifts, books, toys, jewellery and bric-à-brac.
The charity’s own Christmas cards will also be in stock, sponsored once again by local businesses.
The Ark 2018 calendar is now available too, featuring cats and dogs rescued and rehomed over the past year and priced at only £5 per copy with all proceeds going to the charity.
The charity is also holding its annual service in celebration of animals at St Oswald’s Church in Ashbourne on Sunday, December 10, starting at 2pm.
Wanda said: “The service is to give thanks for the pleasure and companionship that our pets give to us and is a very moving and happy event.
“Animals are welcome in church, but dogs should be on leads and small pets in secure baskets, and horses are welcome in the churchyard.”
A donkey from the Donkey Sanctuary Derbyshire Centre will be taking part, and will be led into church as the congregation sing in honour of the donkey’s role in the nativity story.
The charity has relied on public support since its inception in 1988, when a small group of concerned residents came together to start a new service in the community.
Over the years, the organisation has grown to include more than 1,000 volunteers, who have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, built the shelter, and rehomed thousands of pets.
If you would like more information about the charity’s Christmas events, visit www.ashbourneanimalwelfare.org or call 01335 300494.
The shelter will hold its next open day on Sunday, January 14, 2018, 11am to 4pm.