Belfast Telegraph

Birthday girl Annabelle's perfect gift - saving a turkey from the festive dinner table

By Ivan Little

A young girl is giving up her birthday presents to save a turkey from ending up on the Christmas dinner table.

Annabelle Hope, who turns nine today, is saying no to gifts so that the money can be used to adopt a turkey for her over the festive season.

And Annabelle, from Jonesborough in Co Armagh, has persuaded her family not to have turkey on their Yuletide menu on Monday.

"I couldn't bear the thought of eating a turkey, and saving one will be my perfect birthday gift," said Annabelle.

The Cloughogue Primary School pupil asked her parents Carina and Paul to finance the rescue of a turkey by an animal charity in Moira with the money they would have given her for her birthday.

Carina said: "She says if she has any more cash from her birthday or from Christmas she wants to sponsor another turkey."

The Belfast Telegraph reported last week how Barbara Mladek's charity was planning to rescue 61 turkeys after buying them from farmers.

Carina added: "Annabelle heard me talking about Barbara's plans, and she immediately asked me to use her birthday money to adopt a bird for her.

"She loves animals and she didn't eat the turkey that was in the Christmas lunch at school the other day."

Annabelle, who is an award-winning Irish dancer and an enthusiastic gymnast, has already named her turkey Hope.

And she travelled to Barbara's Nut House Battery Hen Rescue and Re-Homing Centre In Moira yesterday to see her new feathered friend.

Paul and Carina were planning to buy a turkey for their Christmas Day meal.

But Annabelle gave the idea the chop.

She said: "I couldn't see the point of saving a turkey if we were going to eat another one."

Mum Carina added: "We are going to have a special Christmas buffet instead with no turkey in it."

Carina has three other children as well as Annabelle, and revealed that the family had recently suffered a pet bereavement.

One of their two cats, Bobby, died last week at the age of 17. But the Hopes still have a cat of a similar age, called Paddy, and a four-year-old dog, who is named Milo.

In the past Annabelle has encouraged her parents and her friends to help animal shelters.

"She's already planning a career that involves working with animals," Carina revealed.

"She has always been keen on animals and from no age she hated eating meat."

Belfast Telegraph

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