AN animal rescue charity which has had its sights set on Hexham for two years has opened its first shop – with another one to come soon.

Weardale-based charity Farplace Animal Rescue has opened a shop at Battle Hill, in the former Taste of Romania premises, and it is due to open a second temporary pop-up shop in the former Boots pharmacy, also on Battle Hill, within weeks. The temporary store will be in place until the landlord finds a new tenant for the premises.

Founder and CEO of the charity Gareth Edwards, said he had originally set up a Facebook page with the hopes of coming to Hexham two years ago.

He faced disappointment after a deal to allow the charity to rent the former tourist information centre in Wentworth car park was cancelled by landlords Northumberland County Council in 2018.

“I am so happy to be in Hexham at last,” he said. “It’s one of my favourite towns and it’s a nice sign the fact people have already been so generous to us, I would like to say thank you to the people of Hexham for that.”

Gareth said they had been inundated with donations, and after being given the opportunity to open a second store in Hexham, decided this would be an opportunity to have a separate space to sell furniture.

The charity, which has been running since 2008 and has 18 shops, rescues and rehomes animals including rabbits, cats, terrapins, horses, pigs and chickens.

“We will take animals with existing problems, which not all charities do,” Gareth said. “Our vet bill is £4,000 to £6,000 a month. It is very heavy on the vet because we take special needs cases. At a lot of charities special needs cases can be put down. Our strapline is ‘helping animals rejected elsewhere’ and that is what we believe in.”