Britain's loneliest sheep: Fiona becomes a mental health mascot for RSABI - after her daring cliffside rescue

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Fiona has helped raise around £11,000 for a mental health charity - and the Scottish SPCA

A ewe once dubbed 'Britain's loneliest sheep' who was rescued after spending years alone on remote cliffs has now become a mascot for mental health.

Fiona, as she is now called, had been spotted twice by kayakers on an isolated shingle beach in Scotland's Cromarty Firth two years apart, running after their boats and bleating. Her sad tale saw a petition launched to rescue her, which attracted more than 50,000 signatures. After the Scottish SPCA delayed its rescue plans over the lone sheep's hard-to-reach location, a group of expert farmers with climbing expertise stepped in to winch her to safety.

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The ewe said goodbye to her heavy, overgrown fleece, and moved to her new permanent home at Dalscone Farm Park in Dumfries back in November. This was despite a protest by animal rights activists, who were upset she wasn't taken to a sanctuary instead - and claimed the sheep would be "exploited" for money.

RSABI chief executive Carol McLaren and farm manager Ben Best say Fiona, centre, has raised more than £11,000 for the charity (Photo: Dalscone Farm / SWNS)RSABI chief executive Carol McLaren and farm manager Ben Best say Fiona, centre, has raised more than £11,000 for the charity (Photo: Dalscone Farm / SWNS)
RSABI chief executive Carol McLaren and farm manager Ben Best say Fiona, centre, has raised more than £11,000 for the charity (Photo: Dalscone Farm / SWNS)

Since then, Fiona has been helping to raise the profile of the #KeepTalking campaign, launched by charity RSABI. She has also helped to raise awareness for the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs’ mental health campaign with the fitting hashtag #AreEweOK?

Visitors to Dalscone Farm have been eager to donate to the appeals - and the campaign has raised £11,000 so far, farm manager Ben Best told SWNS. “We’re delighted that not only has she helped to raise £11,000 for RSABI and the Scottish SPCA, thanks to donations from people keen to help. She is now also helping to spread the word about such an important message at this time of year.”

RSABI was formed as the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution in 1897, in recognition of the deep agricultural depression. Today the charity offers practical, emotional and financial support to families and individuals involved in Scottish farming.

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Chief executive Carol McLaren said: “We know there can be a lot of loneliness in the farming community, particularly at this time of year, and the #KeepTalking campaign highlights how important it is for people to keep in touch and keep an eye out for anyone who could be feeling low or lonely.

“We know that just a little kindness can make a massive difference for someone who is struggling," she added.

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