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Appeal for new Suffolk Punch

PUBLISHED: 14:21 27 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:47 07 July 2010

A £7000 appeal was launched to buy a young Suffolk Punch horse for a Mid Norfolk museum - and help preserve the breed which is rarer than the Giant Panda.

By IAN CLARKE

ian.clarke@archant.co.uk

A £7000 appeal was launched to buy a young Suffolk Punch horse for a Mid Norfolk museum - and help preserve the breed which is rarer than the Giant Panda.

Tens of thousands of visitors to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse have loved to get up close to the various Suffolk Punches which have lived there for many years and also watch them working in the fields.

Zulu and Zebedee were both legends at Gressenhall before they died and the farm is now home to 17-year-olds Queenie and George as well as Bowler, seven, and Trojan, eight.

The Friends of Gressenhall Museum are eager to keep the tradition going by bringing in a young horse and the appeal aims to buy a new young Suffolk Punch.

The appeal launch came during Sunday's Apple Day at Gressenhall, which attracted about 2000 visitors.

People got a taste of what a young Suffolk Punch looks like as they saw five-month-old Willow, who is staying at the museum with her mother Clover.

Their owner is Graham Larter, who started as a volunteer at Gressenhall and now works there during the season.

"Suffolk Punches are giants but they are so gentle and fantastic to be with," he said.

Christine Walters, chairman-elect of the Friends, said there were only 407 animals registered with the Suffolk Horse Society - a figure which compares with 2,500 Giant Pandas.

"Gressenhall is a totally magical place and the Suffolk Punch is at the heart of what we are. The Friends have a tradition in buying Suffolk Punches at Gressenhall and it would seem only right to help once more."

Crowds flocked to the Apple Day and enjoyed a wide range of activities including apple pressing, seeing 175 varieties of apples, dancing with the Ouse Washes Molly Dancers, apple games and a range of crafts.

After a wet morning, the weather improved - although the car park was left very muddy and driving conditions were tricky for visitors.

Anyone wanting to donate to the appeal can contact the Friends, at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Dereham, NR20 4DR. Mrs Walters can be contacted on 01362 860967 or e-mail cmjwalters

@btinternet.com.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse's season ends on Sunday but there are Christmas events on December 7 and 14, 10am-4pm with attractions including Father Christmas, handbells, magic lanterns and enactments.

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