You are invited to join us at The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary in Sandown for a very special evening of local history on Thursday 8th July, with Island historian, author and broadcaster Tim Wander who will be telling us the real story behind our home, Sandown’s Granite Fort.

Tim is a captivating speaker with a rich knowledge of Isle of Wight military history, and he will host a guided tour around our Granite Fort together with a fascinating talk about this very special site that we call home.

The story begins in the mid-19th Century, when Sandown’s Granite Fort was built by Lord Palmerston’s Government to protect the bay against a French invasion that never came, and the many forts across the island soon became known as Palmerston Folly’s. But Tim will tell you that the Forts had other vital purposes. The story will continue through to the Granite Fort’s near destruction in the 1930s, and of course its vital role as a pumping station in one of the Second World War most audacious engineering projects, the PipeLine Under The Ocean. – PLUTO.

Tim’s talent for story-telling will bring our history to life and shine a light on Sandown’s story that many will be unaware of – did you know we even had our own Nazi spy, local landlady Mrs Dorothy O’Grady!

In 1940, when Britain stood alone, our little town on the bay would play a vital role in the conflict. When the invasion came, the bay would have become a brutal battlefield, and the defences that were deployed across the beach and bay are in themselves an incredible story. Winston Churchill’s famous speech, “We will fight them on the beaches” would have been very close to home.

We will be opening the doors to our Sanctuary at 5.30pm for a prompt 6 p.m. start in the Wildheart Café, before a leisurely guided tour of the site. Entrance to the P.L.U.T.O chamber will be staggered to ensure we adhere to Government Covid regulations.

The price is £14 with all proceeds supporting the Wildheart trust, and includes a complimentary tea, coffee or selected soft drink plus a slice of delicious cake!

Numbers are strictly limited so book your place now.