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barbOne of the Totnes Rare Breeds volunteers is being stopped by strangers at bus stops after appearing on the BBC local news. Barbara was interviewed by Spotlight reporter Victoria Graham about her work at the farm, as part of a series of programs about volunteering in the local area. Barbara didn't pause as the cameras caught her cleaning out the goats, hosing out the donkeys, and taking the owls for their daily walk. She did, however, find breath to explain what started her helping out at the farm, and why she loved it so much.

Everyone had a fantastic morning, especially Wizard the Eagle owl, who enjoyed being carried by Victoria Graham herself. All are very grateful to Victoria, John the Camera man, and all the Spotlight team.

So far 2010 has been spent breaking ice on water buckets, but now that the Great Thaw is underway Totnes Rare Breeds is looking forward to welcoming its visitors back in the spring.

What to look out for in 2010:

Web_Black_Sheep• The woodland walk, which got a sneak preview during our Halloween party, will be fully opened to visitors.
• The wildlife area will be well stocked with specially made bird feeders and boxes, hopefully becoming a haven for feathered friends and their admirers.
• The hedgehog hospital is being refurbished in preparation for some new animals, who will join the usual influx of young hogs.
…and of course there will be all your old favourites, with lots of Easter babies.

Meanwhile, all adverts for local guides have been designed, and an exciting new brochure is on its way to print. The website is still developing, and Tommy would like to thank all her supporters following her on twitter.

Everyone at Totnes Rare Breeds would like to wish you a prosperous start to 2010.

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SW_Tourist_Excellence_Winners_WebThe celebrations ran late into last night at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards Ceremony, after Totnes Rare Breeds won silver in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category. The farm was up against prestigious competition, and was enthusiastically commended by the judges for its friendly atmosphere, personal service, and attention to detail. Particular mention was made of the knowledgable and passionate volunteers.

Barrie and Jacquie would like to thank everyone for the fast-flowing messages of support and congratulation. As one caller put it, how wonderful that an attraction so reliant on the generosity of its visitors and volunteers should take on the more commercial big boys.

FireworkThe season drew to a close with a bang on Saturday night with the eagerly awaited halloween party. A spooky ghost walk, spellbinding magician and fantastic fancy dress made this a night to remember, with lots of enthusiastic feedback already received. Calculations are still being made, but a substantial amount has certainly been raised for Children's Hospice South West.

The farm is now closed until the spring, with furry and feathered friends moving into their winter quarters. The colder months are always a rather slow and snuggly time at Totnes Rare Breeds, but this space should definitely be watched - expansions and improvements will be made before the attraction re-opens.

In the meantime, a big thank you to all volunteers, visitors and supporters. You are very much appreciated, and we can't wait to see you all again soon.

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There was a lovely atmosphere yesterday as artists great and small descended on the farm. Despite the gloomy weather all the sketchbooks and clipboards quickly disappeared, while pencils, charcoal and felt-tips were in great demand. The day was such a success that there are already plans to schedule several for next year.

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