Dunstable Chicken and Duck Rescue Shop to close

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The much-loved Chicken and Duck Rescue Shop will close its doors for the final time at the end of the month, the Gazette can reveal.

The West Street, Dunstable charity store first opened seven years ago as a hub to raise money for a rescue service run on John and Lesley Thorne’s farm in Studham.

For years the couple have taken in battery hens from across the country and have also cared for ducks in need of a home.

To raise funds for the voluntary service John and Lesley first opened their rescue shop on West Street in 2008, before moving to a bigger premises a few doors down two years later to cope with surging demand.

Sadly due to Lesley’s ill health the shop will be closed for the final time on Saturday, May 30.

On their time in West Street, John told the Gazette: “When we first started chicken farming we heard about how the battery hens were being exploited and decided to do something.

“In most places they get killed when they are about 18 months old as they begin to produce fewer eggs.

“We needed more money to take them in and Lesley said that she always wanted to open a shop so it was a perfect opportunity for us.”

John added: “Over the years the community have been so generous with their donations and a few of people we’ve told about the closure have said that Dunstable will not be the same.

“In the end it became a social meeting place, the shop was always full of people.

“We’d like to thank Dawn and Ricky who have kept the shop running voluntarily for the past few months while the difficult decision to close was being made.

“Martin Rix of Dunstable Laminates also helped a great deal with the shop so our thanks go to him as well.”

To date John and Lesley have rescued between 3,000-4,000 battery hens and a few hundred ducks.

Despite the closure of the rescue shop John remains committed to keeping the rescue service afloat.

> To get in touch with John Thorne about the rescue of battery hens call 07467 182983.