OXFORDSHIRE Animal Sanctuary has said one of its most successful open days ever has raised valuable funds towards a major revamp.

The Stadhampton centre said it welcomed more than 700 visitors through the doors at its annual summer open day on Sunday.

While children joined in fun and games and got to meet cuddly cats and bouncy bunnies, grown-ups tucked into the barbecue and drinks stand then browsed a wide variety of stalls selling gifts for pets as well as books and cards.

Donations on the day are still being counted, but are hoped to be more than £6,000: organisers said that raffle tickets alone raised about £3,000.

Sanctuary manager Iain Atkin said: “It was lovely to see all the support and great to see old faces attending the event."

The sanctuary, which has been running since 1967, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

It now cares for and helps re-home more than 500 animals a year.

As part of the semicentential celebrations, Mr Atkin said this year would see 'the most ambitious development of their facilities for dogs, in the 51 years since they were founded'.

Visitors on Sunday go to see a new block of ten dog kennels currently being built, and a further 17 kennels are being refurbished.

The works are largely being funded by an enormous £300,000 bequest which was left to the current team by the sanctuary's founder Margaret Gray.

Mr Atkin revealed in January that Mrs Gray, who died last year aged 100, had left the donation in her will.

Using the gift as a springboard, the team are hoping to raise another £150,000 to fund the centre's biggest-ever redevelopment, with new kennels and new facilities to help train difficult dogs to be more ready for rehoming.

The money raised from the open day is going towards this development.

The sanctuary currently has 21 staff and more than 50 volunteers. Next weekend two members of staff, Katie Downie and Louisa Hewings, will skydive at an airfield near Reading aiming to raise more funds towards heaters for the new dog kennels.

Donations can be made to their JustGiving page at justgiving.com/fundraising/katieandlouskenneldive

As well as fundraising events, the charity relies on donations from its sponsors and monthly donors, of which it has 208.

Mr Atkin explained that a major fundraising drive was to increase the number of monthly donors to 300 by the end of 2018, as regular donations give the charity more certainty to help plan for the future.