Rescue animals at historic borough property

The creatures have made Byrom Hall in Lowton something of a magnet for walkers and visitors in lockdown.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 7:00 am

Jane and Paul Cassin have been overseeing a steady stream of two and four-legged arrivals at the property.

The biggest impact has been made by the three rescue alpacas Gus, Eddie and Perseus which turned up at the Slag Lane address late last year.

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Jane and Paul Cassin with two of the alpacas

Jane and Paul have also given good homes to five horses, sheep, ducks, chickens and cockerels as well as their three cats and two dogs.

But the couple says it is the alpacas that have proved most popular with the public coming past Byrom Hall.

The animals’ fame has grown to such and extent that Jane and Paul are even thinking about producing a quirky range of merchandise.

Jane said: “The alpacas are gorgeous. We have them in the front field and so many people stop to speak to them.

Paul Cassin with two sheep

“It’s very surprising. People are walking past, people have parked on the drive to say hello and people have come up to the house asking what alpacas eat.

“It’s good people are taking an interest but we don’t let them feed the alpacas.

“It’s nice to see. With lockdown a lot of people with children are getting out and it’s nice to think we’re giving them something to look forward to on their walks.

“We’ve been talking about trying to open our own product line of T-shirts and bags with one of the alpacas’ pictures on them. We think that would be quite funny.”

Jane Cassin with three of her horses

The first alpaca turned up at Byrom Hall after a colleague of Jane asked her if she had somewhere to put the animal as his brother had fallen into a rabbit hole and had to be put to sleep.

That, though, quickly led to a trio of the animals, which are related to llamas, making their homes in the grounds of the historic, three-storey hall.

Jane said: “I knew nothing about looking after alpacas but I was happy to learn.

“Paul and I though Gus looked a bit sad on his own so we agreed to buy each other two alpacas as presents to each other.”

Jane’s love of animals began at an early age as her father, who was an upholsterer, received a pony in payment for a job when she was four.

She says she has loved horses ever since and kept them on a farm where she lived before she and Paul came to Lowton.

She has continued with her passion for equines in the borough and Byrom Hall is now home to three rescued shire horses and two others.

The couple also has 12 ducks, seven of them from Warrington Animal Welfare, and 14 chickens, while the newest arrivals include three cockerels who had to be rescued from the side of the East Lancs Road.

Jane says the horses too have developed something of a fan club among local people who walk past the hall.

She said: “A lady comes round with her autistic grandson and he just wants to see the biggest horse we’ve got.

“He gets very upset if he’s not in the field. She phones up and asks if she can see them. It’s nice to be able to do something like that.”

Along the way Jane has converted Paul to her love of furred and feathered friends and he has now discovered a previously untapped passion for creating shelters, gazebos and other structures to keep the increasingly-large menagerie in.

Recently seven ducks which had arrived having lived on gravel their whole lives needed a new home creating, with Paul even coming up with an area for them to swim in.

Jane says she feels very lucky to have been able to rent Byrom Hall, a Grade-II listed property which dates back to the 1700s.

The couple are both looking after their animals around full-time jobs, with Jane working as a customer service director for a software development company and Paul working as a mechanical estimator at an engineering firm in Birchwood.

However, Jane says there is no doubt what she wants to turn her attention to once she is able to quit work.

She said: “I’ve always wanted to rehome animals that have had a bad start in life and give them a good home.

“We’ve got grazing rights here, we’ve got the stables. This is something I’ve always wanted to do.

“When I retire I’m hoping to have a heavy horse rescue. We both work full-time at the moment but all our spare time is devoted to the animals.”

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