My first real of keeping rabbits was at school, where we had an animal club and for the last three of my school years I was left to run this. I think that I was the only pupil that did not have one day off sick in the last five years of their school life, and it wasn't for the schooling! My first work experience was helping a lady at Sutton valance with her rabbits and livestock, this is where I first discovered that a rabbit was not just a rabbit, and that they came in all different shapes and sizes, and in a wonderful array of colours and fur types. I was hooked.
When I moved in to my own house, the fun started. With no mum saying "no, three is enough", two new banks of hutches appeared and the show Netherland Dwarf moved in. Then the Mini and Dwarf Lops; things grew fast and bunnies are very addictive. At this point I would like to stress that the rabbits are, and always will be, a hobby and a passion, they are not bred for business purposes. When I re-home any of my young rabbits on its only because they do not meet the standards required for showing or breeding and the money is very quickly absorbed in to the keeping of the other rabbits. In fact I started the Rabbit Accessories Company to help fund my ever growing family of bunnies and to allow me to stay about at home to look after them all. My bunny family mainly increased, because of me not culling my "finished" with rabbits. I keep a lot of my retired show and breeding bunnies, choosing to neuter these and let them live their days out in bonded pairs. Sometimes I find them new homes as companion bunnies for people that have lost an older bunny and have a lonely older Bun needing an elderly friend. I have many Rabbits that are 8 years plus old. After moving to a bigger house with a large garden the rabbits where joined by chickens and ducks, plus four dogs, one cross breed and three terriers, (who never harmed any of the other pets, and were regularly put in their place by the bigger and more opinionated rabbits).
Things slowed down a little bit with the arrival of my son, Ollie. At one point, during the first stages of labour, when I was still out in the shed feeding the bunnies, I thought that Oliver was going to be born on the shed floor. I couldn't trust the then hubby to get the feeding right and would have only worried about the bunnies whilst I was in labour in hospital.
With Ollie at school the serious work of breeding and improving my Lionheads began. This was a new breed, no two looked the same, and being one of the key people involved with their standardization gave me great pleasure, especially now when I see them at shows. I have had tremendous success with this breed, with many 'best in shows'.
Up until 2008 I was the only person in the UK to have achieved 'best in show' with coloured Lionheads. On many occasions I have been placed on the victory row section at the major rabbit shows, one year taking the 'best ladies fancy rabbit exhibit'. I also had the pleasure of introducing Lionheads to the Queen at the South of England Show in 2005, at which she remarked "Oh, they don't look like rabbits do they?"
From 1998-2007-I ran the fur section at the prestigious Kent County Agricultural Show, held every July in Maidstone, and I exhibit all over the country. At some shows, where there isn't a formal rabbit section or exhibit, you will find me at the Rabbit Accessories stand with my 'display team' of bunnies; who I take with me purely for the enjoyment and entertainment of the public. ( these have now all retired) We still take the shop on tour and here you can browse the array of 'bunny things'; that I have researched, selected and acquired over the years, many of which have been tested and approved by my own bunnies. If you register to receive my newsletter by email I will keep you informed regarding the shows that we will be attending this year and the new products that I have found.
In 2019 our then business unit was in an old farm building in Maidstone, when this was sold for re-development, it forced us to look for not only a new place to work but also a new home- after nearly 20 years at my old house in Larkfield- were I had got everything just how I liked it - we moved to the outskirts of Ashford, this was a major task and took nearly 3 months to complete. But for the first time since starting the business, we moved into a lovely industrial unit in Bethersden, which did not leak and the power did not keep tripping out. This is the shop premises and no livestock is kept there.
At home although we now have more space I have a fraction of the rabbits I used to keep.
We still have a few that are 8 years old plus that we keep as pets. I'm now only breeding and showing Mini Lops and Lionheads. The Lions are the oldest and purest line in the country and still do very well for me at shows. Luckily they have very long show lives, meaning that I rarely breed these, as I tend to keep all that I do.
July 2021- see's the launch of our new website, fingers crossed this goes without a hitch.