THE future of Manningtree and Mistley’s renowned swan flock has been safeguarded for another year after the community rallied in response to an emergency appeal.

Brantham-based animal charity WeCare Wildlife Rescue has managed to raise almost all the funds it needs to feed the flock this winter after a “generous” effort from locals.

As a result of an emergency appeal launched in the Gazette back in September, donations from individuals and businesses have come streaming in, according to the charity’s founder Gill Lewis.

The concerned carer made a desperate plea for money as £3,000 was needed to feed the swans this winter.

In response, businesses, residents and Manningtree District Business Chamber swooped in to help save the charity and keep the swans looked after.

Read more: Mistley's swans are 'in jeopardy' after charity stands down from care duties

Mrs Lewis said: “We are so grateful to all those who responded to our Winter Swan Feed emergency appeal.

“We have had some amazingly generous donations from individuals.

“Any donation, whether large or small, is so welcome and we will now be able to provide much needed nutritional feed to the swans so they can survive the winter.”

The charity worker added the current situation is “critical” in light of the emergence of a virulent strain of bird flu in the area.

“By providing feed for the swans last winter we managed to improve the health of the birds who were really struggling at that time and, therefore, their ability to fight off bird ‘flu and other diseases,” continued Mrs Lewis.

“As a result, we have had no sick swans from the flock to look after so far this year and we have decided to repeat the process this year.

“The birds are healthier than last year, but the current strain of bird flu is more virulent and so we cannot be complacent.

“By maintaining their health and strength, we hope to avoid seeing sick and dying birds on the River Stour.

“That is why we are so grateful to all those who have supported our appeal.

“We really do live in a wonderful community.”

Anybody wishing to make a donation to the appeal should make a transfer to the PayPal account, marked WeCare Winter Swan Feed.