About us

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) is a front line rescue service to help people who find sick, injured and orphaned wildlife across East Sussex. Every year WRAS receives between 2-3,000 calls for help. Some of these are purely advisory calls, others need the response on site of one of our ambulances. On site WRAS’s rescuers provide vital first aid to casualties starting the care right at the beginning at the rescue location.

Meet our team

Trevor Weeks MBE – Founder & Operations Director

Trevor Weeks MBE
Trevor Weeks MBE

Trevor is East Sussex WRAS’s founder. Although he started WRAS in 1996, he has been undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work since 1985 when he was just 13 years old.

Over the years Trevor has gained a lot of experience and knowledge working alongside various veterinary surgeons as well as gain knowledge from organisations like St Tiggywinkles, Vale Wildlife Rescue, Fox Project, Folly Wildlife Rescue, Bedfordshire Wildlife Rescue, The Swan Sanctuary Shepperton, RSPCA Mallydams, Sussex Bat Hospital and other.

Trevor originally trained as a computer programmer and even worked in London for a while he gave up this career due to his love of wildlife. He took on a role as an administrative assistant at International Animal Rescue, before moving over to British Divers Marine Life Rescue and becoming their National Co-ordinator for 7 years and also if trained as an Advanced Marine Mammal Medic. It was not until the summer 2010 that Trevor took on a paid position within East Sussex WRAS thanks to an ongoing grant from International Animal Rescue. Trevor like all WRAS staff works for minimum wage and still continues to undertake many hours on a voluntary basis. Trevor is on call almost 7 days a week every week of the year at time he works up to 120 hours a week.
Trevor has a Diploma in Wildlife First Aid & Rehabilitation, but has also undertaken various other courses including the British Hedgehog Preservation Societies Basic Hedgehog First, Care and Rehabilitation Course and a human First Aid course. He has also qualified and trained as a Lay Vaccinator with the Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency in October 2013.

Chris Riddington – Lead Casualty Centre Manager

Chris Riddington
Chris Riddington

Chris started working at WRAS after coming across an injured seagull on his way to work. Not knowing what to do he called WRAS and the love affair began. He previously worked for the NHS for 7 years and studied human anatomy and physiology. At WRAS he began as a Feed & Clean Shift Volunteer and then became a Rescuer for 2 years before taking the opportunity to become an Assistant Manager part time, and is now our full time Lead Casualty Centre Manager. Whilst at WRAS he has achieved a Diploma in Wildlife First Aid and Rehabilitation, become a Marine Mammal Medic, trained as a Badger Lay Vaccinator and attended a course the British Hedgehog Preservation Society & Vale Wildlife Rescue’s Hedgehog Basic First Aid, Care and Rehabilitation course.

Chris works for WRAS 5 days a week, like all WRAS staff, works on minimum wage but still puts in many hours on a voluntary basis, because of his love of wildlife. He is also the Director for the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project.

 

Kathy Martyn – Casualty Centre Manager / Trustee

Kathy Martyn
Kathy Martyn

Kathy has worked around animals since the age of 12, helping at local stables, helping voluntarily at a veterinary practice for 4 years through the school holidays and evenings before being given a paid part time job there until she left at 18, as well as also volunteered at a local RSPCA rehoming kennels. Kathy joined WRAS in 2008 and her first rescue involved tackling an injured adult deer. Working her way up through the organisation Kathy has learned many skills primarily from our consultant vet Simon Harris learning WRAS’s procedures and protocols. Kathy has also helped out in a supportive role with training and rescue work with British Divers Marine Life Rescue and has spent time learning with other rescue organisations like Vale Wildlife Rescue, Bedfordshire Wildlife Rescue, St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital and the Sussex Bat Hospital. Kathy has also completed the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Vale Wildlife Rescue Basic Hedgehog First Aid, Care and Rehabilitation Course and is studying for her Diploma in Wildlife First Aid and Rehabilitation.

Kathy has now been Trevor’s partner since 2008 and as a result has been in the thick of most of WRAS’s major rescues getting her hands dirty and has built up an extensive experience in wildlife first aid, rescue and rehabilitation. Kathy now specialises in the pigeon and dove rearing, rescue, first aid, and treatment at WRAS but also co-ordinates our over wintered Hedgehogs ensuring they all go back to where they belong.

Murrae Hume – Trustee, Treasurer, Rescuer and Company Secretary

Murrae Hume
Murrae Hume

Murrae and his wife Valerie joined WRAS in 1999. Shortly after moving to Sussex they noticed that a duck on the pond adjacent to their house had an injured wing. That weekend they attended an open day at Hailsham Cats Protection league where WRAS had a small display. Trevor visited to check on the duck and that is where it all started. WRAS at that time was a small rescue organisation relaying on local vets or other organisations to provide any long term care, and the occasional use of a volunteer’s spare bedroom or garden shed.

Murrae worked with others to obtain Limited company status followed by Charity registration which they achieved in April 2005. Murrae was the first company chairman and is the only one of the original directors/trustees remaining. After a couple of years as Chairman he switched to become Company Secretary and later also took on the role of Treasurer. Despite the time spent on administration he has also spent a lot of time on the rescue side often covering the rescue line, he now covers rescues on Sundays. Until recently he also helped the feed and clean shift on a Tuesday morning. He is also qualified as a Marine Mammal Medic and has spent time working with seal pups in Scotland.

Away from WRAS Murrae worked as a Police Officer in Surrey for thirty years and is now still employed full time by Surrey Police in a civilian capacity as a Licensing Enforcement Officer keeping an eye on licensed premises on the Eastern side of the County. Although Work and WRAS do not allow for much spare time, Murrae still escapes occasionally to follow his other hobby as Assistant District Commissioner for East Surrey Scouts.

Katie Nunn Nash – Casualty Centre Manager

Katie started as a feed and clean shift volunteer in January 2015 due to her love for wildlife. As her love of wildlife grew, she expanded her role by becoming a rescue volunteer as well as joining the orphan rearing team. When an Animal Care Assistant Role became available, Katie jumped at the chance to apply, and was successful in her application. Katie is learning new things from the team on a daily basis, and has now worked her way up to Casualty Centre Manager, and has taken the lead on the Orphan Rearing Team with support from Lindsay and Nikki.

Whilst at WRAS, Katie has attended the British Hedgehog Preservation Society's 'Basic Hedgehog First Aid and Rehabilitation Course' in conjunction with Vale Wildlife Hospital, and is now training for her diploma in Wildlife First Aid and Rehabilitation.

Lindsay Redfern BSc (Hons) – Summer Orphan Support

Lindsay joined WRAS as a volunteer in 2012 whilst studying for her Animal Science degree at the University of Kent for which she received First Class Honours. Since then she worked her way up to Casualty Care Centre Manager with a particular focus upon education and the orphan rearing team.

Lindsay has continued to expand on her wildlife knowledge through courses including Hedgehog Basic First Aid, Care and Rehabilitation and various rodent courses through The Mammal Society as rodents are a particular favourite of hers! Lindsay is now a trained Marine Mammal Medic and is also a Lay Vaccinator and Company Member for the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project.

In August 2016, Lindsay left WRAS to travel and to try her hand at some conservation work, however she still continues to work closely with WRAS in supporting the orphan rearing team on a seasonal basis.

Veterinary staff

East Sussex WRAS works with 11 different veterinary practices across the county, but has two registered vets who are responsible for overseeing the procedures following by WRAS’s Care Team and for providing some veterinary surgery.

Simon Harris BVSc Cert VR MRCVS

Simon Harris
Simon Harris

Simon qualified from Bristol Veterinary School in 1982.

He had a one year house job at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh and obtained the Certificate in Veterinary Radiology, and since then has worked in mostly small animal general practice.

Simon has interests in neurology and feline medicine, but greatly enjoys the privilege of his involvement in the veterinary care of British Wildlife with WRAS.

Chris Hall BVSc MRCVS

Chris Hall
Chris Hall

Chris is originally from Yorkshire and qualified from the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, Edinburgh in 1995.

He has worked all over the country including 2 1/2 years running a busy emergency clinic in South Wales and some time working with Cheetahs and other wildlife in South Africa. He took over at Henley House Veterinary Practice in Uckfield in November 2006.

Andrew has been supporting WRAS with veterinary work since 2010, seeing a wide variety of casualties from small baby birds to injured deer. In his spare time he likes scuba diving, skiing and golf.

Mike Symons MRCVS

Vet Mike Symons operating on a fox.
Vet Mike Symons operating on a fox.

Mike has recently joined our team after retiring from Cliffe Vets in Lewes. Mike now helps provide emergency support, advice and out of hours treatment plus routine regular visits. Mike is also now invovled in helping to train WRAS staff and volunteers.

Volunteers

WRAS has a wide variety of volunteers from young students aged 16 plus undertaking work experience for college up to mature volunteers who have retired and want to spend time helping wildlife. WRAS has over 80 volunteers working a variety of roles from rescue work to feed and clean shifts. These are just a few example of some of our volunteers.

Lisa Barrow – Rescuer and Feed & Clean Shift Volunteer

Lisa Barrow
Lisa Barrow

Lisa Barrow is a school minibus driver and she also works for a pharmacy. Lisa started volunteering at WRAS in November 2012 when she found an underweight poorly hedgehog in her garden. She took it to WRAS and as soon as she saw the great work being undertaken she just knew she had to volunteer and help care for all the wildlife casualties. Lisa helps with the feed and clean shifts, and she also goes out on rescues driving the ambulance and release casualties that have made a full recovery. Lisa’s favourite patients are foxes, seagulls and feral pigeons, all of which are unfortunately misunderstood by a lot of people who class them as vermin. Lisa believes that are beautiful, wonderful creatures and feels privileged to be able to take care of them. Her other love is cats and her friends call her the “crazy cat lady”, which Lisa classes as a compliment!

Dilly Barlow – Volunteer Rescuer

Having spent all my working life dealing with people, extracting their stories and tidying up their ums and ers as a BBC producer, I decided I’d like to work with real animals. Amazingly Trevor took me on as a rescuer in March 2012. I’m still not hugely good at it, but love every minute. I now know that it’s not a good idea to have a seagull facing you when you pick it up, giving it the chance to grab the skin on your chest and not let go. Neither is it a good idea to try and release a kestrel by lifting it out of the carrier. Their talons are awesome. It is also hugely gratifying to help members of the public whose cat has brought in a mangled bird and they don’t know how to cope, or to release a pigeon trapped behind the old Victorian fireplace of an elderly and somewhat immobile couple. And of course it’s great to be under the guiding hand of Trevor, who knows so much and cares with an intense passion for our native wildlife.

John Pettifor – Feed and Clean Shift Volunteer

John Pettifor runs his own business in 3D Visualisation, animation and design. John Started volunteering for WRAS back in 2009. He was walking out of Sainsburys in Newhaven where WRAS had a stand and spoke to one of the volunteers. "He explained to me the amazing work he was involved with and we chatted about the wildlife and what I could do for WRAS, so I took the contact details and made a donation". A few weeks later John and his wife Sue came along to the induction training and began their first clean and feed shift when the WRAS centre was just one small room, packed full of hedgehogs, pigeons and more. "It was amazing what WRAS managed to treat and rehabilitate in such a small space. Now after all these years, we have been involved with rescues and events, but mainly tried to stick to a consistent weekly feed and clean shift. I love the way each time you arrive at WRAS to do your shift, you never quite know what to expect, from grumpy cormorants, kestrels, badgers, foxes, pigeons, seagulls, elegant yet clumsy swan to the adorable hedgehogs, I love them all.".

Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr

Our sponsors

We are really grateful to the following organisations who have very kindly helped support our work. If your company or organisation would like to support WRAS in any way, please get in touch via email.

International Animal Rescue

International Animal Rescue Logo

International Animal Rescue saves animals from suffering around the world. Their work includes cutting free and caring for dancing bears in India, rescuing primates from captivity in Indonesia and sterilising and vaccinating stray dogs and cats in developing countries. Wherever possible they return rescued animals to their natural environment but we also provide a permanent home for animals that can no longer survive in the wild.

International Animal Rescue sponsors three quarters of the salary of Trevor Weeks at WRAS and have offered valuable support and advice over the years.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

IFAW Logo

Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare saves individual animals, animal populations and habitats all over the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW provides hands-on assistance to animals in need, whether it's dogs and cats, wildlife and livestock, or rescuing animals in the wake of disasters. IFAW also advocate saving populations from cruelty and depletion, such as their campaign to end commercial whaling and seal hunts.

In 2010 WRAS picked up an Animal Action Award from IFAW at the House of Lords. IFAW have helped fund a number of items of rescue equipment.

Care for the Wild International

Care for the Wild Logo

Care for the Wild International is a charity dedicated to the protection of wildlife in the UK and around the globe and have been around for 30 years. They run, work with, and support a range of projects around the world, and help animals from hedgehogs in Horsham to tigers in Thailand! They also raise awareness of the key issues impacting on animals – this includes the horrific poaching of elephants and rhinos, the badger cull in the UK and the way animals are exploited by the tourist industry.

Care for the Wild have being making small donations to WRAS since the late 1990s to buy various pieces of equipment from helping to purchase an ambulance to buying a medicine fridge.

Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's Logo

Heathfield Sainsbury's has chosen East Sussex WRAS as its charity of the year raising funds over 12 months until the summer 2015.  WRAS’s Trevor Weeks is working closely with the store and over the 12 months, various events will be held at the store to raise both awareness and funds.

The store aims to raise enough money to help sponsor the  running costs of WRAS’s new Educational Trailer.

 

The Royal

The Royal
The Royal

The Royal Hotel is located at 8-9 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex and ever year we received a donation of £1 for every room booking received.  They have bee donating every year since 2010 and have provided valuable support to WRAS and its casualties.  As well as being "Pet Friendly" they are the only certified eco-friendly guest accommodation in Eastbourne and as such they are refreshingly different.  Their kitchen is vegetarian and they offer fresh, homemade and high quality breakfasts to their guests.  They happily cater for vegans or those with special diets. 

Magpie

Magpie Supports WRAS!
Magpie Supports WRAS!

Magpie is the brainchild of designer Nicky Sloan and was created in 2011 to cater to a gap Nicky had spotted in the homewares market. Since its launch, Magpie has grown steadily, both in the design ranges it offers and the customers stocking it. Available from over 1000 stores throughout the UK including esteemed High street names such as Oliva Bonas, Selfridges, Harrods, Lakeland, House of Fraser along with hundreds of independent shops, and boasting over 500 unique products, Magpie has built a solid foundation to date and has ambitious plans for the future.  After attending events like Vegfest Magpie donates the profit to worthy charities and East Sussex WRAS is one of them receiving £500 at a time after such events.  Please support them at their website by clicking here.

Skinners Sheds.

The Shed donated by Skinners Sheds.
The Shed donated by Skinners Sheds.

Skinners Sheds stepped in to help out East Sussex WRAS after a company let WRAS down at the last minute. They donated a shed normally worth over £600 which has now be erected at Uckfield where WRAS overwinters numerous hedgehogs during the winter.   Please support them. Their website is: http://www.skinners-sheds.com/ and their facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/skinners.sheds?fref=ts

 

Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr

History

Celebrating...

2010 - 2015 WRAS's has completed its 5th Year at its Casualty Centre at Whitesmith.

2005-2015 WRAS's has completed its 10th year as a registered Charity.

1996 - 2015 WRAS has now been a voluntary group for 20 years.

1985 - 2015 Founder Trevor Weeks has completed his 30th year helping wildlife.

Founder Trevor Week, who was raised in Hailsham, and born in Eastbourne in 1972, started undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work back in 1985 when he was just 13 in and around the Hailsham and Eastbourne area. The first ten years Trevor spent most of his time helping a variety of organisations like the Conservation Volunteers, local Badger Group, Amphibian and Reptile Group, and various individuals who ran small bird and wildlife hospitals from their homes.  Trevor also took on the role of Tree Warden and Common Pond Warden at Hailsham for a number of years in additional to helping to establish the group Environment Hailsham. Trevor started volunteering with Meta Mann who ran a bird hospital from here home in Seaford and collecting oiled covered seabirds like Guillemots and Razorbills and delivering them to her as well as helping to wash and clean them. Once Trevor could drive and had his own car he started doing more rescue work and helped the Fox Project and Swan Sanctuary.

In 1993 Trevor lost his mum to cancer which had a big impact on his life which he struggled to deal with, but his voluntary work really help pull him through. “It was my mum which got me interested in animals and nature, we always had one animal or another at home, which she always said were the responsibility of my brother and I to look after and of course she would always be the one who ended up looking after them.  They included chicken, terrapins, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, cats and dogs.” Said Trevor.

In 1996 Trevor attended the Sea Empress Oil Spill in Millford Haven in Wales working with Redbrook Wildlife Rescue, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and Greenpeace.  East Sussex Wildlife Rescue was formed later that year after Trevor ran up a vets bill of over £1000 and was struggling to pay off the fees.  Vet Robin Hooper from Downwood Vets in Horam, gave Trevor a challenge to set up his work as a voluntary group and get a committee and fundraising going, and in return Robin offered to cut Trevor’s bill in half. Trevor rose to the challenge and within 6 months East Sussex Wildlife Rescue was born.

“I owe Meta and Robin a lot as I don’t think I would be where I am today if it had not been for their influence and support for me and for seeing my potential. I learnt so much from them.” Said Trevor.

Trevor trained in computer programming and worked work various companies but undertaking his wildlife rescue work as his hours were flexible. The only time Trevor has not been able to undertake his rescue work was for about six months at the end of 1999, when took on a programming job working in London. Eventually Trevor gave up this lucrative job earning over £32,000 a year in 2000 to come back to Sussex. Working just part Trevor then put a lot of his time into undertaking wildlife rescue work and trying to develop the organisation into a charity.

Over the years Trevor has also work for International Animal Rescue in Uckfield and then moved over to their sister charity Bristish Divers Marine Life Rescue where he became their National Co-ordinator helping to support volunteers around the country undertake whales, dolphin and seal rescues.

At one point Trevor had to pull back from his rescue work for a couple of years after being warned by his doctor he was close to having a heart attack if he didn’t start taking it easy.  Trevor has even ploughed all of his £10,000 savings into the charity to save it when it came close to closing back 2007.

In 2005 WRAS was formed as a registered charitable company. More recently Trevor move to work part time for WRAS on minimum wage and has set up their Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith on the A22 between Hailsham, Uckfield and Lewes.  The centre is capable of holding up to 200 casualties at a time.  In addition to this the charity has four veterinary ambulances and over 80 volunteers who work hard to keep the charity going.

The charity has grown to become an award winning charity an in 2010 the charity received an IFAW Animal Action Award at the House of Lords, in 2012 Trevor was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List receiving the MBE, later that year he received the BBC Sussex & Surrey Community Heroes Award for Animal Welfare, and in 2013 the charity won the Local Animal Charity of the Year in the ITV1 British Animal Honours.   Trevor’s work has also been recognised by both the Eastbourne Herald and Gazette in 2005 when he won a Volunteer Award and in 2010 received an award from local radio station Sovereign FM.

So from small beginning WRAS has grown to what it is today thanks not just to Trevor but all the volunteers and supporters who have kept WRAS alive and pushing forward.

Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr

About the charity

WRAS Founder Trevor Weeks MBE with rescued swan
WRAS Founder Trevor Weeks MBE with rescued swan

Casualty Care Centre

Wildlife casualties can find veterinary centres very stressful due to the noise from cats, dogs, parrots, and human activity slowing down their recovery. WRAS decided it needed to help improve the situation by setting up its own Hospital. Despite operating several small units using sheds it was not till 2010 that WRAS managed to launch its current Hospital. WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre, based on the A22 between Hailsham and Uckfield. Over the next five years the charity slowly expanded and improved the facilities which is now able to take in just under 200 casualties at any one time, although this does depend on the range of species in care at the time. The Hospital has a treatment room, three hospital rooms, an indoor room divided into four indoor pens and aviaries, a prep room, volunteer rest area, orphan rearing area, education room, store and cold room for acclimatising animals like hedgehogs before moving them outside. WRAS has two registered vets and the centre is also registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Veterinary ambulances

WRAS covers a large area of East Sussex and works with 11 different veterinary practices. These vehicles move around but are normally based at either at the charities centre at Whitesmith and out of hours at Uckfield and Polegate. The charity relies on volunteers to operate these ambulance and at night time it tries to keep two of these vans are available. The ambulances carry a variety of equipment, from ladders, various nets, stretchers, first aid kits, dog graspers, swan hooks, and much more. WRAS ambulances have been involved in numerous rescues including helping to deal with a seal trapped in a nuclear power station, an albino deer with its antlers caught in a rope swing, a badger stuck in a disused swimming pool, a fox trapped in a drain, a bird caught up on a chimney, birds flying round inside a house, run over hedgehogs and much more.

Rehabilitation facilities

WRAS also has a number of sites across the county where it does the outside rehabilitation of casualties. These include aviaries and pens of various sizes at Burgess Hill, Uckfield, Lewes, Eastbourne and Lower Dicker.

A number of WRAS’s volunteers, also help with the rehabilitation and over wintering of hedgehogs in runs and hutches I their gardens at home.

Award winning service

Trevor Weeks was recognised for his work helping wildlife in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2012, when he was awarded the MBE. The work undertaken by WRAS has also been recognised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare Animal Action Awards 2010 at a presentation at the House of Lords, the BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey Community Heroes Animal Welfare Award 2012 and the ITV1 British Animal Honours Awards 2013 for the local animal charity of the year.

On average it costs WRAS £85 to be on call for and respond to a call-out. The vans, the mobile phones, veterinary bills, equipment stored in the vans etc are expensive and need replacing on a regular basis. WRAS has a number of pens and aviaries used for a wide variety of wildlife.

Directors

Murrae Hume
Kathy Martyn
Brian Russell

Patrons

Sarah Jane Honeywell
Chris Packham

Casualty Care Centre management team

Operations director: Trevor Weeks MBE
Centre managers: Chris Riddington,  Kathy Martyn, Katie Nunn Nash
Support Staff: Amy Sandiford
Veterinary surgeons: Simon Harris BVSc Cert VR, MRCVS, Dr Chris Hall BVSc, MRCVS, Mike Symons MRCVS

All WRAS managers have completed or are currently studying towards Diplomas in Wildlife First Aid and Rehabilitation or similar qualifications in Animal Care and have completed the BHPS & Vale Wildlife Rescue’s Hedgehog Basic First Aid, Care and Rehabilitation Course.

Memberships

British Hedgehog Preservation Society
British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
European Wildlife Rehabilitation Association

Registration

East Sussex WRAS is a registered charitable company. Registered Charity Number 1108880. The Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith is registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a Veterinary premise, Number 6548374.

Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr

Trevor's 30th Year 1985 - 2015

Trevor Weeks rescuing some newts in Hailsham Late mid 1990s Fox cub resced from under floor boards at Hastings 2002 Trevor and Murrae Hume rescuing a swan at Lewes, late 1990s Trevor feeding a fox cub at Peacehaven 2003 Trevor cleaning Hailsham Common Pond in the late 1980s Simon Harris WRAS's Trevor Weeks vaccinating a badger Similar Deer Rescue at Robertsbridge in July 2007 Trevor (right) rescuing a Dolphin in Cumbria in 2006 There are many different volunteer opportunities within WRAS including feed and clean shift volunteers, Rescue volunteers and the orphan rearing team. Most volunteers will begin by joining a feed and clean shift before expanding to other roles. Trevor (Right) at the Sea Empress Oil Spill 1996 Opening of WRAS Casualty Centre in 2010

TO MAKE A DONATION SCROLL DOWN:

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)  is celebrating the success of its Casualty Centre which has completed its 5th year in operation this winter. Celebrating the completion of the Charities 10th year as a registered charity. Celebrating its 20th years as a voluntary group as well as celebrating founder Trevor Weeks’ completion of his 30th year undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work in East Sussex and beyond.

Founder Trevor Weeks MBE of Uckfield, who was raised in Hailsham and born in Eastbourne, started undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work back in 1985 when he was just 13 in and around the Hailsham and Eastbourne area.

Trevor Weeks rescuing some newts in Hailsham Late mid 1990s
Trevor Weeks rescuing some newts in Hailsham Late mid 1990s

The first ten years Trevor spent most of his time helping a variety of organisations like the Conservation Volunteers, local Badger Group, Amphibian and Reptile Group, and various individuals who ran small bird and wildlife hospitals from their homes. Trevor started volunteering with Meta Mann who ran a bird hospital from her home in Seaford and collecting oiled covered seabird like Guillemots and Razorbills and delivering them to her as well as helping to wash and clean them. Once Trevor could drive and had his own car he started doing more rescue work and helped the Fox Project and Swan Sanctuary.

In 1993 Trevor lost his mum to cancer which had a big impact on his life which he struggled to deal with, but his voluntary work really help pull him through. “It was my mum which got me interested in animals and nature, we always had one animal or another at home, which she always said were the responsibility of my brother and I to look after and of course she would always be the one who ended up looking after them.  They included chicken, terrapins, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, cats and dogs.” Said Trevor.

Trevor (Right) at the Sea Empress Oil Spill 1996
Celebrating WRAS having formed as a voluntary group in 1996. Trevor (Right) at the Sea Empress Oil Spill 1996

1996 saw Trevor attend the Sea Empress Oil Spill in Millford Haven in Wales. East Sussex Wildlife Rescue was formed later that year after Trevor ran up a vets bill of over £1000 and was struggling to pay off the fees.  Vet Robin Hooper from Downwood Vets in Horam, gave Trevor a challenge to set up his work as a voluntary group and get a committee and fundraising going, and in return Robin offered to cut Trevor’s bill in half. Trevor rose to the challenge and within 6 months East Sussex Wildlife Rescue was born.

“I owe Meta and Robin a lot as I don’t think I would be where I am today if it had not been for their influence and support for me and for seeing my potential. I learnt so much from them.” Said Trevor.

Trevor trained in computer programming and worked work various companies but undertaking his wildlife rescue work as his hours were flexible. The only time Trevor has not been able to undertake his rescue work was for about six months at the end of 1999, when he took on a programming job working in London. Eventually Trevor gave up this lucrative job earning over £32,000 a year in 2000 to come back to Sussex. Working just part Trevor then put a lot of his time into undertaking wildlife rescue work and trying to develop the organisation into a charity.

Trevor (right) rescuing a Dolphin in Cumbria
Celebrating WRAS being registered as a Charitable Company in 2005, Trevor (right) rescuing a Dolphin in Cumbria in 2006.

Over the years Trevor has also worked for International Animal Rescue in Uckfield and then moved over to their sister charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue where he became their National Co-ordinator helping to support volunteers around the country undertake whale, dolphin and seal rescues. Including helping going to Cumbria for a two week operation to save a dolphin trapped in a harbour  and helping to training people in Canada in how to rescue marine life.

At one point Trevor had to reduce his rescue work for a couple of years after being warned by his doctor he was close to having a heart attack if he didn’t start taking it easy.  Trevor has even ploughed all of his £10,000 savings into the charity to save it when it came close to closing back 2007.

 

Opening of WRAS Casualty Centre in 2010
Celebrating WRAS completing its 5th Year at its Casualty Care Centre which openned in October 2010.

In 2005 WRAS was formed as a registered charitable company. More recently Trevor moved to work part time for WRAS on minimum wage thanks to sponsorship from International Animal Rescue and late 2010 WRAS opened the doors to its current Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith on the A22 between Hailsham, Uckfield and Lewes.  The centre is now capable of holding up to 200 casualties at a time.  In addition to this the charity has four veterinary ambulances and over 80 volunteers who work hard to keep the charity going.

The charity has grown to become an award winning charity and in 2010 the charity received an IFAW Animal Action Award at the House of Lords, in 2012 Trevor was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List receiving the MBE for services to animal welfare, later that year he received the BBC Sussex & Surrey Community Heroes Award for Animal Welfare, and in 2013 the charity won the Local Animal Charity of the Year in the ITV1 British Animal Honours.   Trevor’s work has also been recognised by both the Eastbourne Herald and Gazette in 2005 when he won a Volunteer Award and in 2010 received an award from local radio station Sovereign FM.

 

Trevor and Kathy at Buckingham Palace 2012
Trevor and Kathy at Buckingham Palace 2012

“We are launching Trevor’s 30th Year Appeal to raise vital funds to help WRAS save our local wildlife.  WRAS’s workload has always been much higher than it can cope with but we want to change that and help even more casualties than ever before!  Millions of wildlife casualties are euthanized at vets up and down the country due to the lack of facilities for these casualties to go to, but in East Sussex they have WRAS and we are saving thousands of wildlife casualties as a result of the public support we receive. I find WRAS really fulfilling and get a great sense of pride from working with everyone at WRAS, they are a great team and so caring” said Chris Riddington  one of WRAS’s Duty Managers.

“I joined WRAS for work experience in 2012 for a year whilst studying at the University of Kent, and was lucky enough to then get a grant so I could work part time and then full time for WRAS.  WRAS has always had a strong sense of community responsibility and tried to be very supportive towards back to work scheme, providing work placements for students from local schools and colleges as well as going out into the community to give talks, displays and more. WRAS is a great charity and one I am proud to be part of” said Lindsay Redfern BSc (Hons) who is now one of WRAS’s Casualty Centre Managers.

 

Kathy Martyn
Kathy Martyn

“I remember meeting Trevor for the first time in 2008 and the first call I went out on with Trevor was a deer caught in rope with a damaged leg, the finders had cut it free, and as we approached the deer got up and ran into a wooded area and onto a path. I ran one end of the path and Trevor ran to the opposite end to block the deer in. The deer looked both ways and to my horror the deer clearly thought I was it best chance of escape and bolted straight towards me!  I had no choice but to tackle the deer and bring it down and I was surprised that I managed it. Trevor was quickly with me and then able to help. I got quite a few bruises but the deer was rescued. I think I surprised Trevor and within 6 months Trevor and I were in a relationship and I’ve regretted it ever since! Trevor has a habit of us doing weird and wonderful rescues around my birthday and I’ve had to rush down to the casualty centre with him a few time to clean out maggot infested wounds and various animals in smelly conditions. I love it really!” laughed Kathy Martyn WRAS Trustee and now Trevor’s partner.

WRAS now receives about 3000 calls a year which is growing steadily, but is unable to deal with the workload, but is ever expanding its facilities to take in a help thousands of casualties every year. During peak time WRAS can receive over 100 calls a day. The average length of time it takes to deal with a call-out is 2.5 hours. This can be much lower at 15 – 20 minutes with simply cases close to the centre but rescues can turn into days, with Trevor’s longest rescue being almost 3 weeks based at Monkton Marshes in Kent in January 2003 when he slept in his ambulance in a field to help a flock of swans which every day kept hitting overhead power cables.

Fox cub resced from under floor boards at Hastings 2002
Fox cub resced from under floor boards at Hastings 2002

WRAS is asking people to either make a donation of £30 as it’s Trevor 30th year, or £20 as WRAS has been a voluntary group for 20 years or £10 as we have been a registered charity for 10 years or whatever amount they can afford to help support the expansion of the charity and to help increase the charities ability to increase the number of animals they can cope with.

There will be a few celebration activities and events this year. Which starts with the launch of Trevor’s 30th Year Appeal to help support and increase the number of casualties WRAS can afford to take in and care for.

“So many people congratulate me and say what a wonderful job I am doing, when in reality it is our hard working volunteers, generous supporters, and those who believed and had faith in my vision which should be thanked because without them we would not be here nor able to help the thousands of casualties we deal with” said Trevor “ I don’t know where the past 30 years have gone. We have certainly seen our highs and lows and dealt with some weird and wonderful situations.”

If you would like to make a donation:

Credit/Debit Card:  Click Here.
PayPal: Click Here.
Over the phone: Call 01825-873003 between 10am and 6pm.
By Post: Send donation payable to "East Sussex WRAS" to:
Trevor's 30th Year Appeal,, East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.
Thank you so much in advance for your continued support and helping us make such a difference to our precious local wildlife.
Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr

WRAS's Euthanasia Policy

Animal Welfare is paramount at East Sussex WRAS. Euthanasia of a casualty is not taken lightly, and it is WRAS’s policy for this to never be a single persons responsibility. Animals will fight tooth and claw to survive so WRAS strongly believes in giving all casualties individual care and attention, and if there is any doubt about the casualty’s ability to survive the casualty will be supported for at least 24 or 48 hours and then reassessed with the support of our Veterinary Team.

Casualties are as individual as humans, so what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. Reactions to rescues, captivity, treatment all vary from individual to individual. As a result each casualty is treated as an individual but taking into consideration the needs and habits of the species too.

WRAS’s aim is to return as many casualties to the wild as possible and also back to their home range. However there are occasions when the best course of action is to euthanase. For example a road casualty fox with permanent paralysis, or a cat attacked bird with old injuries and its intestines dry and exposed.

WRAS considers the following clear-cut cases for euthanasia which is partially taken from St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital procedures:

  • A severed and displaced vertebral column.
  • The loss of two or more limbs.
  • A bird that is completely blind.
  • A swan, goose or duck that loses a leg (but only after consultation with the Swan Sanctuary Veterinary Team).
  • Most adult male deer that cannot be released.
  • Disabled wood pigeons – wood pigeons never settle in captivity.
  • Birds of prey and Corvids with only one leg.

WRAS also considers the following not so clear-cut cases for euthanasia again taken from St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital procedures:

  • Any casualty which is going to have to suffer unacceptable levels of pain even if treated.
  • Any casualty which will never have any quality of life even if they recover and are kept in captivity.
  • Any casualty which cannot benefit from veterinary techniques evolved for domestic animals but that are unsuitable for wild animals.
  • Any casualty which requires a long period in close confinement without suitable facilities being available.

 

Euthanasia is never undertaken out on site unless assessed by a vet first. Deer are the only exception and if not treatable a suitably qualified fire-arms user is called to euthanase the animal.

Wild animals and birds are not the same as domestic and agricultural animals, primarily because they are frightened of humans. It is important not to Anthropomorphize our emotions onto wild animals who often react completely differently to how a domestic animals or humans would. This often causes people to misread the condition of a casualty which can cause it to suffer.  Each species acts differently and has their own stress factors which impacts on their ability to be treated and released back to the wild.

Although WRAS is lucky to have better facilities than most small wildlife rescue organistions, WRAS doesn’t have unlimited funds. In a similar way to the NICE deciding on which medication and treatments should be allowed on the NHS, WRAS also has to set a level to which treatment is cost effective without causing a detrimental effect on the long term ability of the charity to treat casualties without closing down.

The charity will where possible pass casualties to other rescue organisations where, WRAS doesn’t have suitable facilities or are more specialist than WRAS can provide, where the casualties condition is unusual and not  something which WRAS’s Veterinary Team are used to dealing with, or where WRAS’s facilities are occupied and unable to take in the individual casualty.

WRAS is not against disable wildlife casualties being kept in captivity, but believes many are done so using inappropriate or over-crowded facilities causing distress, disease and suffering.  WRAS is not a sanctuary and does not have facilities for keeping disabled or non-releasable casualties in captivity. The only exception to this is large enclosed gardens where disabled hedgehogs are placed where they can live “as if wild” and be monitored.  Only at sanctuaries where suitable facilities and knowledge exists will WRAS pass over disabled or non-releasable casualties to wildlife sanctuaries for them to be kept in care and to live “as if wild”. WRAS strongly believes any disabled wildlife must be able to live in conditions which provide the 5 freedoms:

  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst, by ready access to fresh water and a suitable diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  • Freedom from Discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment including ground cover/vegetation, flooring, shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease, by prevention and rapid diagnosis and treatment, keeping animals in hygienic conditions.
  • Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour, by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from Fear and Distress, by insuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

WRAS regularly sends waterfowl to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton, bats to the Bat Hospital, and feral pigeons to several pigeon keepers with suitable facilities to look after long term or non-releasable cases to name a few.

WRAS has a Natural England licence to treat and release a limited number of grey squirrels back to the wild.

It is a sad fact that wildlife rescue organisations up and down the country all have to euthanase casualties, and many trauma cases are just too severe to treat and recover from. The overwhelming responsibility on any rescue organisation is to ensure that casualties which come into care do not suffer.  Sadly it is impossible to avoid putting some casualties to sleep on medical ground.

WRAS has changed hugely over the past 10 years, and where we were unable to house and treat some casualties 10 years ago, we are able to now, providing bigger and better facilities.

WRAS is committed to improving its facilities and continually learning and developing its ability to treat and care for wildlife, learning from other established rescue centres new techniques for the care and treatment of casualties, expanding its facilities to increase the numbers taken into care and the purchase of new and additional equipment to improve the quality of care we can provide.

Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr
Follow us!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubeflickr