Friends of Animals League (F.O.A.L)

KeziKezi has been a Patron of Friends of Animals league for 7 years. In 2015 they celebrated their 55th anniversary. 55 years of rescuing animals, giving them shelter and love and ultimately giving them a much needed home. 

Way back when Rock ‘n’ Roll began, Mustangs were the coolest car to own and Marlon Brando filled our screens, Carl Baker and his wife Penny were living on a barge moored at Sunbury on Thames.

Rex was a German shepherd that Carl found chained to an old van in a yard. With a broken and bleeding ear, fur coated with oil and grease, his pads raw and clearly under nourished, he was a pitiful sight.  The thought of this beautiful animal, condemned to a life of misery and starvation devoured Carl.  His owner occasionally threw him scraps of food but nobody ever went near him, never touched him, never loved him.  It became too much for Carl and Penny to bear and so with great difficulty, Carl persuaded the owner to let them take Rex.

And so Rex went to live with Carl and Penny on the barge and not long after, another neglected dog crossed their path which they took into their home and their hearts. They began to spend more and more time working to combat the cruelty and distress that many animals were suffering.

Photography:  Kevin Black Photography

In 1960, 20 people met in a disused kitchen and agreed to form a rescue centre called Friends of Animals League (F.O.A.L). Their mission was to save as many animals as possible, to care for them until they were fit and well and then where possible, place them in good, loving, permanent homes.

In the beginning, these homeless unwanted animals were shared around the member’s homes. But when 10 ponies, rescued from Waltham Marshes needed urgent accommodation it became glaringly obvious that premises were needed.  A kind hearted farmer in Westerham came to the rescue loaning F.O.A.L 40 acres and a Dutch barn, but the search was on for permanent premises.

Eventually in May 1962, after selling everything they owned, including their barge in order to raise the £36,000 needed, the Bakers took possession of a farm in Biggin Hill and F.O.A.L farm was born.  It was horribly run down, but had a cottage, 20 acres of grazing and 3 acres of woodland. And so, animals began to arrive faster than the Bakers could build kennels or raise money for food and faster than they could re home them.  They desperately needed to appeal for money and so the members of F.O.A.L applied for charity status in September 1962.

Carl’s health began to suffer and in 1967 he was forced to retire. So he and Penny placed Friends of Animals League and the farm with the charity commission, under the careful care of the trustees of F.O.A.L and on the strict proviso that it would forever remain the animal sanctuary and charity they had created

When Penny and Carl created F.O.A.L, they had 6 rescued animals. When they retired, they had 150.  In the years since, F.O.A.L has continued to expand and at any one time, around 400 animals live on the farm. They take in sick, distressed, unwanted animals and nurture them back to health and happiness.  Dogs, cats and other small animals are then placed in secure, loving, vetted homes.  Larger or less domestic animals that cannot be re homed, have a home at F.O.A.L for the rest of their life..

Friends of Animals League rely entirely upon voluntary contributions, legacies, sponsorship and money made from fundraising events.

You must be logged in to post comments