Volunteers working for a local wildlife charity have clocked up over 15,300 hours during 2008 and given over £20,000 of their own money to help members of the public who have found sick, injured or orphaned animals cross East Sussex.
"We've never added up the figures before and we were amazed when we realised just how many hours are put in by all these volunteers, we knew it was high but not that high" said Sue Wilkinson Chairperson of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS).
During 2008 WRAS responded to over 2800 calls for help of which the majority of casualties were rehabilitated back to the wild with WRAS facilities. WRAS has about 30 volunteers which help out on a regular basis, some of whom put in a regular 3 hours shift helping to clean out cages to those who are on call 24 hours a day.
"Frequently our volunteers have to get up early to respond to call-outs or even late at night. They then have to go off to work to their normal jobs and return home and do more work for WRAS. On their days off they dedicate time to WRAS helping to be on call too. After a hard days work there aren't many people who want to go and clean out a pen full of gulls or clean out hutches with hedgehogs" said Sue Wilkinson WRAS's Chairperson.
"Tim McKenzie, WRAS Casualty Care Manager, Trevor Weeks, our Rescue Co-ordinator and founder plus Tony Neads, Senior Rescuer dedicate their lives to WRAS and put in thousands of hours every year out of sheer dedication to helping members of the public who find injured wildlife. This organisation would not exist if it was not for the dedication of them and all the rest of our volunteers." said Sue.
Trevor Weeks has been rescuing wildlife since he was at Hailsham Community College. Trevor first got involved in helping wildlife when he was 13 years old. Now aged 37 Trevor has dedicated his life to helping wildlife. It is estimated that over 15,000 animals have been rescued by Trevor and the other volunteers from WRAS.
In the 1980s Trevor used to jump on the bus or train during school holidays and travel to Brighton and walk the seafront along to Newhaven or walk parts of the coast between Eastbourne and Seaford checking for oiled seabirds on the beaches. When finding one he used to take them to Meta Mann who used to run a small bird hospital from her home in Seaford. Trevor has since been involved in numerous rescues working with various charities but mainly through WRAS including a deer, dolphins, swans, hedgehogs, badgers and a wide variety of garden and seaside birds.
"Trevor even gave up a £30,000 a year job in London as he missed helping wildlife so much. Tim has also given up part time jobs to help WRAS due to his committment," added Sue, "the dedication of our volunteers to helping the public when they find injured wildlife is amazing."
"We are noticing a difference with the credit crunch and we really need the public to support us with the same dedication that our volunteers try and give to the public and wildlife." said Sue Wilkinson.
Anyone wanting to help WRAS can send donations to Julia Bond, East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE or donate online.
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Press Contacts: Sue Wilkinson, 07590 762056
Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958