Cbeebies TV star opens new wildlife hospital in Sussex

At 2.30pm on Saturday 4th September Cbeebies Television Star Sarah Jane Honeywell officially opened East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service's (WRAS) new Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith in East Sussex.

Animal lover and children's presenter Sarah Jane Honeywell came down to Sussex and spent the afternoon at the centre, where she officially opened the centre by cutting a red bandage using bandage scissors from the centre's new First Aid and Treatment Room.

Sarah Jane was joined by members of Hellingly Brownie Pack, WRAS volunteers and supporters as well as Polegate Mayor Tim Voyce who has chosen WRAS as his charity for the year.

Sarah Jane said "I visited a few weeks ago when the work was in progress and I am amazed how it looks now and the volume of hard work which has gone into this new centre by WRAS's volunteers. I feel proud and privileged to be opening the centre."

The centre which is not normally open to visitors was crowded as supporters attended to see the opening and see what the charity has managed to achieve. "There were about 60 invited guests at the opening, and I'm delighted that someone like Sarah Jane has taken the time to visit and open the centre for us , which means a lot to me and the volunteers after all the hard work which has gone into getting the centre off the ground. Like all charities WRAS has suffered as a result of the harsh financial climate and with people worried about their jobs they are reluctant to donate, so this centre has only been possible due to the hard work put in by our volunteers saving us from having to pay contractors to carry out the work."

Newlyweds Paul and Georgina Cutler from Denton, Newhaven, were also at the opening to present WRAS with £500 which they decided to donate to WRAS instead of "favours" at their wedding on the 14th August 2010. "I was amazed when Paul and Georgina presented me with a little toy badger holding £500 in £20 notes!" Paul and Georgina used to volunteer and help undertake rescue work with WRAS.

Sarah Jane helped raise funds for WRAS by asking supporters to make a donation to WRAS in return for her signing photos for both children and adult fans alike. She also enjoyed the food and refreshments laid on by WRAS volunteers including WRAS founder Trevor Weeks' infamous homemade Butternut Squash and Ginger soup. She also presented bottles of wine and flowers to the key WRAS volunteers who helped set the centre up. WRAS founder Trevor Weeks also presented Sarah Jane with a framed set of photos of her visit to meet WRAS casualties a few weeks ago as a thank you for opening the centre.

Trevor said "I am so proud of what we have achieved and that we have such a great bunch of volunteers which help out at our centre, helping to deal with the thousands of people who call WRAS each year for help and the casualties they have found."

WRAS is now trying to raise funds for Phase Two of the Centre, which includes setting up a new CCTV system for monitoring casualties, purchasing additional cages, setting up a wet room for washing oiled birds and for swimming water birds, constructing four large animal pens and more.

Trevor said "We have never been able to deal with all the calls for help that we receive, but this centre will make it easier to help more people and casualties."

Anyone wanting to make a donation to support WRAS's new Casualty Centre can do so via our donation page or by posting donations payable to "East Sussex WRAS" to PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

» Additional photos

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, Director, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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