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Plea to save horse that was explosion victim's 'best pal'
THE family of a man killed in an explosion is appealing for help to keep his beloved horse alive.
Ian Simpson, from Horspath, was killed when he cut into an empty oil drum and it blew up in July last year.
The 48-year-old was well-known in the village for his friendship with his horse Sam and villagers have been donating money to help the family look after it.
But his family is struggling to pay vets’ bills after the cob developed bad arthritis.
Relatives fear the horse may have to be sold if they cannot continue to pay the extra medical bills.
Mr Simpson’s sister Reah Debanks, 44, of Leiden Road in Wood Farm, said it was important for the family and the village to keep the horse around, adding: “It is the last piece of him left.”
She said at one stage the vet thought the 14-year-old horse might have had to be put down due to the pain.
The bill for the pills and tests had come to over £1,000 and she said £750 had been paid, but more was needed to keep the horse on painkillers.
She added: “It’s Ian’s horse and it means everything to the family.”
Mr Simpson, of College Way, used to take Sam to village fun days and let people ride him in exchange for charity donations.
The horse is now kept at Manor Farm, Horspath, where Mr Simpson worked.
A fund to support the animal’s care was set up in September last year and donations have come from Horspath Cricket Club and from a collection jar at Mr Simpson’s former local, The Queen’s Head pub.
Ms Debanks added: “It is so nice what they have done.”
Mr Simpson’s 47-year-old brother Craig Simpson said: “It would be heartbreaking if we had to sell it because if Ian was alive today he would have kept him going.
“Ian had him ever since he was a youngster.”
Janet Hawkeswood, landlady at The Queen’s Head, said: “We want to support Ian such a lot because he was part of the village.
“He loved his horse and he loved walking his horse. It was his life. He was his buddy and his mate.”
She said collections at the pub raised about £100 every three months.
Mr Simpson was buried in the churchyard at St Giles in the village in September last year.
In May the family created a memorial to him in College Way.
Donations can be made at Manor Farm or at Mr Simpson’s mother Elizabeth’s home at 11 College Way.
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