PEOPLE who want to see a 'beloved' sanctuary reopen have taken it upon themselves to help the owner get it back up to standard.

Around 10 people went to Water Fowl Sanctuary and Children's Farm in Wiggington Heath, near Hook Norton, to do minor jobs like painting and fixing pipes around the site.

Mabel Warner, 88, has run the sanctuary with her son Rodney for three decades.

But after failing to meet animal welfare standards due to an increase in costs, Mrs Warner had her pet shop licence renewal refused by Cherwell District Council and she was forced to close in December.

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Now people are sacrificing their time in a bid to get her licence back by taking part in volunteer days - the first of which happened on Saturday.

Mrs Warner said: "It went extremely well. They did a wonderful job. I'd like to say a huge thank you to them that came because they were wonderful. We're getting there."

The roof of the barn has now been insulated, which was one of the main pieces of work that the council said needed to be done in order to comply with temperature standards.

She added: "I'm hoping to be open for Easter but the council said that it takes 10 weeks for a pet shop licence application to be considered.

"We are spending a lot of money so we hope we will be granted the licence."

People who took part in the volunteer day said they were happy to help.

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Sue Lester commented on the sanctuary's Facebook page: "Me and my son and husband enjoyed the day and was glad to help. Looking forward to when it opens again."

Mrs Warner has had trouble completing paperwork but her granddaughter, Steph Tinkham, who grew up in Banbury and spent her childhood visiting the sanctuary, is now helping her out.

The 30-year-old said: "The sanctuary is important to me as it's been a part of my whole life. I used to go and stay for the day with my gran while my mum worked so I spent a lot of time with them at the sanctuary and I helped where I could. It was like a second home to me.

"I am helping them because I'm not ready for the sanctuary to close completely. I want my little boy to be able to grow up there just as I did and hopefully with my help they will be able to reopen and stay open for another 30 years."

She has been communicating with authorities on Mrs Mabel's behalf, organising the volunteer days and doing the admin.

She added: "It hasn't been the easiest and it's had its challenges but I'm helping them for the love of the place, to keep it going for everyone who visited as a child and for them to bring their children to visit too."

The next volunteer day is on Sunday, March 15.