Cuddle Bunnies Fair

A BEXHILL charity based on the therapeutic healing offered by petting rabbits, has been celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Bexhill Cuddle Bunnies founder and chairman Sue Horsman cut the charity's birthday cake alongside Town Mayor Cllr Paul Lendon at

Bexhill Youth Centre on Saturday.

Cuddle Bunnies take house trained rabbits to hospitals and care homes to help cheer up patients.

The charity also works with autistic children and visits schools and youth organisations to teach them how to look after their pets.

Cuddle Bunnies started almost by accident a decade ago when Sue visited her uncle at the Irvine Unit in Bexhill Hospital and he kept asking for 'Rosie'.

She said: "It was a fluke really, how it started. They said he was seriously ill and it was okay to bring a child on to the ward. I said, 'excuse me, but Rosie is a six-month-old, house-trained rabbit'.

"I brought her in and a lady from Canine Concern thought it was a good idea. They put the forms in and here we are 10 years later."

Sue is particularly proud of the number of trained volunteers Cuddle Bunnies has.

"We have nine adult members, seven junior members and two more in training. They can all teach people how to look after their animals."

Liam Thompson, 14, was quick to praise Sue and the work of the charity.

Liam is autistic, but through Cuddle Bunnies he has become a qualified helper and can remember the names of 15 bunnies.

"There are so many things we can do to help autistic children," said Sue. "It helps to give them confidence."

Liam spent part of the day looking after Sue's own rabbit, and star-turn, Alfie.

The talented bunny gave public demonstrations of his ability to 'beg', pretend to be asleep and give kisses on command.

Visitors were allowed to meet, greet and stroke the other rabbits at the event.

The fair also featured a grand raffle, a cake stall, a tombola, book stall and bric-a-brac.

The afternoon saw face painting and a children's fancy dress competition.

A display by the Bexhill 100 Motoring Club proved a draw for car enthusiasts. The group had previously paid for injections for the bunnies.

Sue added: "It has all gone very well."