'Hero' for animal welfare says goodbye to shop after helping to raise £250k

PUBLISHED: 15:01 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:44 10 January 2017

Denise with John Penrose at the opening of the store.

Denise with John Penrose at the opening of the store.


A woman who used a budget of just £300 to set up a charity shop in Weston-super-Mare which has now raised £250,000 has left her position as shop manager.

Denise Jacobs opened Animals Asia, in West Street, in March 2012 and has managed the store since.

She has recruited an army of volunteers and seen thousands of donations passed through the shop’s doors, but she has now stepped down from her role to concentrate on other projects.

The store raises funds to stop bear bile farming, which sees bears caught from the wild or bred in captivity. The bears are then treated poorly and confined to cages, causing them both physical and emotional trauma.

Money raised in Weston has been spent on rescuing bears in Vietnam and China. The latest rescued bear has been named Denise, as a thank you for her long service.

The charity’s UK director, Joanne Dunsford, told the Mercury: “Denise is a champion for Animals Asia, a hero for animal welfare and a treasure of Weston.

“We’d like to thank her for her incredible service and contribution. We’d also like to take the opportunity to thank all the people of Weston for their love and support of our shop.

“Denise leaves a legacy, not only of the shop here, but we are about to open another shop in Bristol and hope to open a third later this year in Brighton. From her idea, a network is emerging, which will continue to raise thousands of pounds for these animals. We won’t stop – until the cruelty ends.”

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