Dedicated animal champion from East Sussex honoured for tireless work rescuing wildlife

Written jointly by the International Fund For Animal Welfare and East Sussex WRAS.

A dedicated East Sussex animal hero who has helped rescue an estimated 15,000 wildlife casualties is to receive a special award in recognition of more than 25 years of tireless work from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) at the House of Lords.

Trevor Weeks (38), from Uckfield, East Sussex, set up East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) which he operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, despite a recent adder bite almost killing him.

WRAS serves a large area which includes 11 different veterinary practices. Trevor receives up to 3,000 calls a year from members of the public, local councils, Sussex Police and animal welfare organisations alerting him to wild animals and birds needing rescue.

His work with animals began at the age of 13 when he joined Eastbourne Conservation Volunteers during a beach clean and found two birds covered in oil which he took to a small bird hospital. He continued to rescue injured, sick or orphaned birds and animals, eventually setting up East Sussex WRAS in 1996 to offer a front line rescue service for wildlife casualties.

Trevor is proud to have spent only six months of the last 25 years in non-wildlife work, when he was offered a highly paid job as a computer programmer in London. He soon gave this up, preferring to be poor and happy helping the wildlife he cares so much about.

Now a registered charity, East Sussex WRAS runs a fleet of ambulances and has a new Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith to care for wildlife victims in facilities which are less stressful than veterinary practices. Trevor is now seeking funds to complete phase two of the new hospital which includes large walk-in kennels for injured wildlife such as badgers, foxes and swans.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are very pleased to be able to reward Trevor’s amazing dedication to rescuing British wildlife over so many years and wanted to recognise his outstanding contribution to animal welfare with our Rescue Award.”

Trevor will receive his award at IFAW’s prestigious Animal Action Awards ceremony, hosted by Baroness Gale, at the House of Lords on October 19.

He said: “I am delighted to receive this award which is not just for me but for all those people in Sussex who have supported me and made this all possible, especially my girlfriend and family. I wouldn’t be receiving this award if it was not for their support. It would be impossible to do this on my own and many casualties would suffer if it was not for all those people who have been so supportive and so caring.”

For more information about East Sussex WRAS visit www.wildlifeambulance.org

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For more information, photos or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling in the IFAW UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7587 6708, mobile +44 (0)7917 507717, email csterling@ifaw.org or alternatively visit www.ifaw.org

Stock photos of award winners are available in advance and photos from the ceremony will be available shortly after.

Notes to Editors

Animal Action Awards, sponsored by Nat Geo Wild and the People newspaper, are part of IFAW’s annual Animal Action Week which takes place around the world involving thousands of schoolchildren who are motivated to get involved in animal welfare. This year’s theme is tiger conservation.

If you would like to nominate someone for an Animal Action Award for 2011 please write to: IFAW Animal Action Week, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD.

About the International Fund for Animal Welfare - With offices in 15 countries, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. IFAW rescues and provides veterinary care to individual animals and advocates for the protection of entire populations. For more information visit www.ifaw.org.

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