A MYSTERY businessman has rescued a popular East Lindsey tourist attraction from the threat of closure.
It was feared that the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre, at Great Steeping, near Spilsby, would be forced to close at the end of this month because of mounting debts.
The centre is the home of many retired and handicapped heavy horses.
The largest amount is owed to Barclays Bank which applied for an order which would have allowed it to seize the site – the house, outbuildings and land.
Because they are old or infirm, some of the 14 horses would probably have had to be put down.
But just minutes before a crunch county court hearing in Skegness last week, the unnamed businessman agreed to put up an emergency loan – a move that prompted the bank to adjourn its application for 28 days.
Although he is no longer involved with day-to-day running of the centre, Northcote is still owned by its founder, Keith Sanders, who now lives in France with wife Ruth and their three dogs.
He flew back to England via Tours and Manchester airports for Friday’s hearing – which lasted just a couple of minutes.
Because of the request for anonymity, he declined to identify the businessman but expressed immense gratitude.
He said: “It was a very noble gesture which means that Northcote lives to fight another day. Equally important, it means that the horses’ future is safe.”
Mr Sanders believes the loan will only need to be short-term because he is in talks with a building society about a more long-term mortgage arrangement.
Although the threat of closure has been lifted, Northcote remains severely strapped both for cash and for volunteers to help with everyday chores – everything from mucking out the stables to stuffing envelopes in the office.
Anyone who can help in any way can contact the manager Terena Bolam at 01754 830286.
The centre is hosting a Halloween evening on Sunday, October 28 from 4pm-7pm.
For more information, visit www.northcotehorses.com