Prison lambs aid charity for children with special needs
Two pet lambs reared from prize-winning sheep at a Northern Ireland prison have been donated to a charity that provides animal therapy for children with autism and life-limiting illnesses.
The Border Leicester and Texel-cross lambs, called Lucy and Charley(right), were handed over by the Prison Service to the Kids Pony Foundation in Co Antrim.
Sheep were introduced at Hydebank Wood College two years ago as part of an animal therapy rehabilitation initiative for students.
Ricky Graham, vocational training officer at Hydebank and a part-time sheep farmer, worked with the students, teaching them basic skills.
He said: "As well as learning all about animal welfare, the students got to show the sheep at Balmoral and picked up a couple of prizes. But the big prize for staff and students at Hydebank was the birth of the lambs in March this year.
"They've been reared on the bottle by one young student in particular and as a result are very, very friendly - absolutely ideal for the Kids Pony Foundation."
Laura Gordon, instructor at the Kids Pony Foundation, which is based at Drennan Road, Lisburn, said: "The new lambs - we've named them Lucy and Charley - will bring so much joy to the children who come here."
Laura said the charity has various breeds of animals and birds, but they didn't have any lambs until now.