Comedy writer Carla Lane is having to remortgage her Sussex mansion to keep her animal sanctuary alive.

The Liverpudlian has also provided signed scripts for her hit sitcoms Bread, Butterflies and The Liver Birds for auction to raise money for her charity, Animaline, at Horsted Keynes.

Her home, Broadhurst Manor, where the sanctuary is based, has an operating theatre and animal hospital, and is set in 40 acres of land including grass, woodland and four lakes.

Ms Lane has bankrolled the sanctuary since it opened in 1993.

But since interest in producing her comedies for television has waned she has found it increasingly difficult to cover its costs.

She told The Argus: "I bought the house when I was rich and opened the sanctuary.

"My career has absolutely dropped.

"My accountant is very mournful if I don't do it very carefully now."

Animaline's mission to never allow a sick or injured animal to die if it has a chance of a quality of life has caused the number of creatures living on the estate to swell to thousands.

The menagerie includes sheep, goats, horses, emus, ducks, chickens, geese, swans, bats, birds of prey, and 44 cows.

When Mayor of London Ken Livingstone decided to reduce the number of pigeons in Trafalgar Square, 400 pigeons were sent to Broadfield Manor.

Expenses such as the operating theatre and provision of veterinary treatment for injured animals have sapped Ms Lane of resources.

Ms Lane said: "The realisation has come on suddenly.

"I'm going to take a mortgage out on my house, which I hate doing.

"I love it, that is the problem.

"I love every single little creature out there, I love the staff and I love what we do."

The charity is now taking a more proactive approach to fundraising.

Close friend Paul McCartney provides straw from his Sussex estate for the Animaline animals.

A recent open day raised £8,000, with one man donating £500 after being shown round the sanctuary.

The next event is a dinner-dance, which Ms Lane expects to attend despite undergoing a knee operation.

Anyone interested in supporting the charity can call Animaline on 01342 810596 or write to Animaline, The Lodge, Broadhurst Manor, Horsted Keynes, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 7BG.

The dinner dance is taking place on Saturday October 13 at East Sussex National Golf Resort and Spa in Uckfield.

The 200 tickets cost £50 each. To reserve a place call Debbie Davey on 01689 826362 or 07980 496043.