JOANNA Lumley is lending her backing to the launch of an appeal to buy up the land where an animal sanctuary is based.

The actor will be the star guest during an open day at the Farm Animal Sanctuary at Manor Orchard Farm, Middle Littleton.

The event is running on Sunday, September 2, from 1.30pm to 5pm. The sanctuary is trying to raise money and awareness for its ‘Mile of Gold’ appeal, as it needs to raise £70,000 to buy the site it is based on.

It follows an 11th hour reprieve in June, after eviction proceedings were launched by the farm’s owner to have the sanctuary’s owner Jan Taylor evicted from the land.

The owner said the sanctuary was only granted use of the land on a temporary basis, but then offered Ms Taylor the chance to buy the land.

Joanna Lumley has been a patron of the charity since it formed, and has known Ms Taylor 22 years, ever since she did a feature on animal welfare for The News of The World.

“She’s been our patron for 22 years, as I wrote to her when we were doing the story – and she came straight back and said she would help,” said Ms Taylor.

“We’ve been in touch ever since.”

Among the charities attending will be the Badger Society, Redditch Vegetarians & Vegans Society, the Barn Owl Society, Avon Cat Rescue, Rough Collie Rescue, and Tortoise Rescue. A puppy rehoming charity is also attending.