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.
2010 - 2020 WRAS's has completed its 10th Year at its Casualty Centre at Whitesmith.
2005-2020 WRAS's has completed its 15th year as a registered Charity.
1996 - 2021 WRAS has now been a voluntary group for 25 years.
1985 - 2020 Founder Trevor Weeks has completed his 35th year helping wildlife
Founder Trevor Weeks, 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 her home in Seaford, 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 helped 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 for 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 time, 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 worked 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 whale, 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 moved 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 6 veterinary ambulances and over 150 volunteers who work hard to keep the charity going.
In 2021 WRAS took on its first employed veterinary surgeon due to the workload in addition to having four vets voluntarily helping to provide support.
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, 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. In December 2021 WRAS staff and volunteers were awarded with a Wealden Heroes Award by local MP Nus Ghani for all their hard work throughout the Covid pandemic which saw WRAS deal with over 5100 casualties in 2020.
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!
Trevor Weeks MBE – Founder & Operations Director
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, until 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.
Katie Nunn Nash – Lead Casualty 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 Lead Casualty Centre Manager, and is the Orphan Rearing Leader.
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.
Kathy Martyn – Rehabilitation Supervisor
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 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.
Karen Francis - Casualty Manager
Karen began volunteering for WRAS in 2016 on the orphan rearing shift throughout the summer. Then during 2017 a summer job came up for an animal care assistant and she applied straight away. Ever since then she has gained more and more experience with doing a Wildlife First Aid and Rehabilitation course and eventually becoming a full time member of staff.
Holly Davis - Animal Care Assistant
Holly began volunteering in December 2015 for a student work placement requirement from Plumpton College while she was studying Level 2 Animal Management. She completed her required hours for her course, and then stayed on to help with rescues and general maintenance around the centre, and then never left! Holly has now landed herself a job as a part time animal care assistant. She feels that she learnt way more from practical experience here at WRAS than she did at college, and she learnt very quickly from shadowing Katie and Karen.
Ellie Langridge - Volunteer and Student Coordinator
Ellie has always been an animal lover ever since she was a toddler she would be out in the garden finding toads, snails and slow worms! "I knew I needed to work with animals for the rest of my life, I simply just couldn't see myself doing anything else!". Ellie studied Level 3 Animal Management at Plumpton College from 2013-2015. She volunteered at Drusillas for a few years, and realised zoo keeping wasn't for her. Then she found WRAS in 2017 and volunteered as a rescuer on a Thursday, until being offered the job as Volunteer and Student Coordinator in 2018. "I love my job, I have the perfect balance of caring for injured wildlife, plus educating volunteers and students about how to care for wildlife. I feel like I am making a difference".
Murrae Hume – Trustee, Treasurer, Rescuer and Company Secretary
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.
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 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 is originally from Yorkshire and qualified from the Royal 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.
Chris 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
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.
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 100 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.
Jack Ley - General Volunteer
"Originally I began volunteering at WRAS to gain work experience for my college course at Plumpton. Now, 3 years later I am still coming in once a week to care for the casualties as well as assisting with rescues and releases. I feel like I have learnt not only about wildlife, but also about myself. Volunteering has helped me become more confident in talking with the public, as well as increasing my knowledge of British wildlife and the welfare needs of the animals. Throughout my journey I have not only made friends at WRAS but family. Every Thursday I come in and work alongside the same hardworking volunteers each week to care for the casualties. We all have the same motive, to help these animals survive. One of my best rescues involved saving a guillemot covered in oil on Eastbourne beach. I’ll never forget the thrill of capturing her knowing we could get her treated, washed and released back in the wild."
Katey Edmunson - Feed & Clean Shift Volunteer
After 42 years in the National Health Service, Katey retired and felt like it was time to try something new and exciting! She began volunteering in 2014 on a Thursday and Friday morning. Katey also helps bring new volunteers along through doing taster sessions whenever she can, she’s a wonderful teacher and is great at explaining WRAS to new people! “5 years later I love it more and more every day” Katey said. “Whatever I give, I get back one thousand times, often sad, always rewarding and never dull, volunteering at WRAS is amazing and a total privilege”. “It’s the best thing I have ever done, why don’t you try it?”
I have been Volunteering at WRAS for 6 ½ years with my wife Charlotte. We decided to join WRAS because we wanted make a difference and since then we have never looked back. We do a variety of jobs from feeding and cleaning shifts to doing rescues and orphan rearing we love every minute of it, seeing the rewards of the hard work is worth it. My best experiences with WRAS is seeing the variety of casualties from the smallest to the largest coming into care and learning so much about them with so much more to learn, every shift is, different from the last as it can change so much each week and the anticipation for what you will see is intriguing. My best moment was helping rescue “Norman” the Red Footed Booby which somehow had strayed from the Galapagos Islands. Seeing the diversity of animals we have is fascinating and educational , so your never short of things to see and do but all in all I would never change what I do with my wife at WRAS.Follow us!
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 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.
Waitrose & Partners.
A huge thank you to Lewes, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Uckfield and Heathfield Waitrose stores for very kindly donation to our charity from their Community Green Token scheme and now their "Give A Little Love" scheme.
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.
Eastbourne and Heathfield Co-op
Both Eastbourne and Heathfield area Co-ops raised money for East Sussex WRAS in order to purchase two veterinary ambulances. A huge thank you to everyone who shops at Co-op for being so generous and for supporting our charity.
If your company would like to sponsor East Sussex WRAS either by purchasing an ambulance or buying rescue equipment or funding ambulance fuel for a year, please get in touch.
East Sussex WRAS provides its ambulance, rescue and rehabilitation service free of charge to members of the public but reserves the right to charge organisations, councils and companies.
Where a charge is to be made WRAS will make this clear before our service is used.
By handing over a casualty to WRAS finders are agreeing to pass over all legal responsibility to East Sussex WRAS. This includes WRAS being responsible for making all decisions on first aid, treatment, care, euthanasia, rehabilitation and release.
Despite being able to hold up to 350 casualties at a time at our Hospital there are occasions when our hospital is unable to accept some or all casualties. This is done to ensure animal welfare standards are high and because we are full or have limited space for casualties of a certain size and type. When this occurs, we will recommend other organisations that may be able to help. Where possible we will offer to help transport casualties to these other organisations if we are able to do so.
East Sussex WRAS is within its rights to exclude individuals or organisations from using its service, due to verbal or physical abuse, offensive, bullying, stalking, coercive or controlling behaviour, or any unlawful prejudice based upon gender, age, disability, religion or race.
There is no legal obligation for East Sussex WRAS to collect casualties from anyone.
East Sussex WRAS recognises that its veterinary surgeons have a responsibility to give emergency first aid when presented with wildlife casualties when they are at our Casualty Centre at Whitesmith. When available WRAS’s Care Team (Non-Vets) will also do their utmost to give emergency first aid to casualties within the scope of the law. This includes casualties presented by excluded persons or organisations; however, there is no legal responsibility for WRAS to admit the casualties into its Centre for rehabilitation and release.
WRAS personnel, volunteers and officers aim to act with the utmost integrity and respect towards all organisations and individuals that it comes in to contact with in the course of its activities. In return WRAS expect that its staff, volunteers and officers are treated with equal respect by the organisations and individuals that it comes in to contact with on a day to day basis.
WRAS has a responsibility to inform the Police when there is evidence that a criminal offence may have occurred. It is therefore policy that WRAS reports such incidents to the Police for further investigation.
We always want to learn and develop our service, so WRAS welcomes feedback. This can be done by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate that mistakes occur. In the rare occasion when a complaint is necessary, please put this in writing to East Sussex WRAS. PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.
WRAS will investigate any complaints that it may receive regarding its conduct or the conduct of its staff, volunteers and officers in accordance with its policies and procedures.Follow us!
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 rescue, 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:
- 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:
- 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 or permanent captivity 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 then suffer. Each species acts differently and have 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 when WRAS doesn’t have suitable facilities to look after the casualty, or where other organisations have more specialist knowledge, experience or facilities than WRAS can provide. Also 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.
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 20 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!
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East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) is celebrating the success of its Casualty Centre which has completed its 10th year in operation this winter. Celebrating the completion of the Charities 15th year as a registered charity. Celebrating its 25th years as a voluntary group as well as celebrating founder Trevor Weeks’ completion of his 35th 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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2005 WRAS was formed as a registered charitable company. In 2010 Trevor moved to work part time for the charity 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 300 casualties at a time. In addition to this the charity has four veterinary ambulances and over 100 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.
“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 Katie Nunn Nash one of WRAS’s Duty Managers.
WRAS now receives about 3-4000 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 120 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.
WRAS is asking people to either make a donation of £35 as it’s Trevor 35th year, or £25 as WRAS has been a voluntary group for 25 years or £15 as we have been a registered charity for 15 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.
“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: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!
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 until 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 around 300 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.
WRAS covers a large area of East Sussex and works with 11 different veterinary practices. These vehicles move around but are normally based either at the charities centre at Whitesmith and out of hours at Uckfield, Eastbourne and Polegate. The charity relies on volunteers to operate these ambulances and at night time it tries to keep two of these vans 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.
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 in 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. WRAS was also awarded a Wealden Heroes Award my local Wealden MP Nus Ghani in December 2021 after a majorly busy season of casualties throughout the Covid pandemic.
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.
- Iain Turner
- David Turner
- Murrae Hume
- Linda Dunn
Sarah Jane Honeywell
Casualty Care Centre Team
Operations director: Trevor Weeks MBE
Lead Casualty manager: Katie Nunn Nash
Casualty Manager: Karen Francis
Rehabilitation Supervisor: Kathy Martyn
Animal Care Assistant: Holly Davis
Volunteer and Student Coordinator: Ellie Langridge
Receptionists: Kristy Sayer and Amy Davis
Cleaner and Maintenance: Julie Stafford
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.
British Hedgehog Preservation Society
British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
European Wildlife Rehabilitation Association
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!
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (East Sussex WRAS) takes privacy seriously. We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use the information that we collect about you lawfully. This policy is intended to give you an understanding of how and why we use the information you give us.
East Sussex WRAS (the data controller) is committed to protecting your personal data, whether you are a supporter, volunteer, employee or user of our service. Please read this policy carefully.
East Sussex WRAS is a incorporated in England and Wales as a ‘not for profit’ company, limited by guarantee (Company No. 5107163). We are a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity No. 1108880). The processing of your personal data is carried out by East Sussex WRAS, which is registered with the Office of the Information Commissioner.
If you have any questions, our Data Protection Officer can be contacted via:
Post: East Sussex WRAS, Unit 2, The Shaw Barn, A22, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD.
When and how do we collect information?
We may collect information about you whenever you interact with us in the following ways:
when you contact us regarding our activities and services;
when you contact us regarding our news or appeals;
when you register to receive our mailings;
when you engage with our social media;
when you make or pledge to make a donation to us;
when you contact us in relation to becoming a volunteer or volunteer for us;
when you contact us in relation to becoming a fundraiser or fundraise for us, take part in or attend an event;
when you purchase something from our shop;
when you apply for a job with us or become an employee or provide services via an agency or provide consultancy services directly to us;
In addition, we collect aggregated or anonymous information about the services you use and how you use them, such as when you watch our videos on YouTube, visit our website or view and interact with our ads and content.
We may also receive information about you from other parties: for example, when you’ve given permission to share your data or when we gather information from publicly available sources as explained below.
Information we receive from other sources
To provide our supporters with the best service, where possible, we may use publicly available sources to keep your records up to date (e.g. using the Post Office’s National Change of Address database and postcode validation) and check against deceased records.
What information do we collect?
We keep the least amount of information where necessary.
names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers and other contact information (including details of your social media accounts /profiles);
financial information such as bank account details (if you want to set up a direct debit with us)
financial information such as debit and credit card details, which we do not store on our systems;
information you enter onto our website;
records of correspondence with us, if you have contacted us;
details of your visit to our website, including your IP address.
details of any transactions you carry out with us, such as; donations, pledges, events, fundraising activity and training.
How do we use your information?
East Sussex WRAS does not and has never rented, swapped or sold personal information to other organisations for them to use in their own marketing activities.
East Sussex WRAS will only process your personal information:
asked you and we have a record of your recent consent for us to do so;
a ‘legitimate interest’ to do so in order to support our charitable purposes or related to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of a casualty – please see below for further details;
a contract with you that we can only fulfil by using your personal information, e.g. to send you an item that you have requested;
a legal obligation to use or disclose information about you, e.g. we are required by law to keep records of gifts that are given to us with Gift Aid for 6 years.
East Sussex WRAS may use your information in a number of ways and for a number of purposes including:
to provide you with information, products or services that you have requested from us;
to provide you with information about our work or our activities where you have agreed to receive communications from us;
to process donations that we receive from you;
to fundraise in accordance with our internal policies and procedures;
for administrative purposes (for example, we may contact you regarding an event for which you have registered, to provide information requested from us through Supporter Care or with a query regarding a donation you may have made to us);
for internal record keeping relating to any donations, feedback or complaints;
to invite you to participate in voluntary surveys or research;
to contact you where you have been identified as a contact person for an organisation, such as a school or company (if we obtain your contact details in this way, we will only use them to contact you in your capacity as a representative of that organisation);
to analyse and improve the operation of our website;
to improve the quality and accuracy of the information you have provided such as your contact details by checking against external data lists. This helps us ensure our records are fully up-to-date and avoids misdirecting communications;
To assess your personal information for the purposes of credit risk reduction or fraud prevention; and where it is required or authorised by law.
How long we keep your information
We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, and meet any legal or regulatory requirement. This is so that we can provide the services, products or information you have requested, to administer your relationship with us, to ensure we don’t communicate with you if you’ve asked us not to and to comply with the law.
Unless you tell us not to, we consider that you are content for us to process (keep and use) your personal information for a period of 10 years from your last active interaction with East Sussex WRAS (for example making a gift or sending in an enquiry). This is not the length of time that we will continue to contact you – that could be a shorter period of time.
We may keep information relating to gifts in wills indefinitely so that we can administer these gifts and communicate appropriately with the families of those leaving East Sussex WRAS a legacy. This also helps us learn more about the reasons people leave us a gift in their will.
In most circumstances we will seek consent to process your data at the point we collect it; however, in some cases we may process data without consent where we are legally allowed to do so, and where we have legitimate reasons for doing so (e.g. to process a donation you have made), provided we respect your legal rights.
When a rescue occurs, we do not want to delay a rescue by asking for consent for future contact and mailings. We will assume consent is given for a subsequent contact and follow up unless clearly indicated otherwise on the casualty paperwork.
If we identify that there is a legitimate interest, as defined by the General Data Protection Regulation, we may use your personal information to contact you in order to fulfil this legitimate interest. This will always be balanced against your individual interests, rights and freedoms. We may contact you by post to provide information about IAR and ways in which you can help us except where you tell us that you do not want us to, which you can do at any time by contacting us.
We may also send you service communications via email or post, for example where you place an purchase items online or book on training course or events.
You can update or change any of your marketing preferences at any time (including telling us that you don’t want us to contact you for marketing purposes) by:
Indicating that you do not wish to receive our emails replying ‘unsubscribe’ to one of e-mails;
Contacting us by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 01825873003, or by writing to us at: East Sussex WRAS, Unit 2, The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD.
If you request to receive no further contact from us, we will keep some basic information in order to avoid sending unwanted materials in the future. If we did not retain this information then this could result in us contacting you again as we would no longer have a record of your request not to be contacted. If you would rather we didn’t keep any of your details – please contact us directly.
Can you gain access to your personal information?
You may request a copy of the personal information that International Animal Rescue holds relating to you by writing to us at: East Sussex WRAS, Unit 2 The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, BN8 6JD.
We use service providers (such as fundraising agencies and software platform providers) to help us provide you with our services.
We enter into contracts with all of these service providers that require them to comply with data protection laws and to ensure that they have appropriate controls in place to protect the security of your information.
We may give relevant persons within these service providers access to your personal information, but only to allow them to perform specific services for us.
How we protect your personal information
We take appropriate physical, electronic and managerial measures to ensure that we keep your information secure, accurate and up to date, and we only keep it as long as is reasonable and necessary.
Although we use appropriate security measures once we have received your personal information, the transmission of information over the internet is never completely secure. We do our best to protect personal information, but we cannot guarantee the security of information transmitted to our website, so any transmission is at the user’s own risk. However, any payment card details (such as credit or debit cards) we receive on our website are passed securely to our payment processing provider according to the Payment Card Industry Security Standards.
Your credit or debit card information
If you use your credit or debit card to donate to us, buy something or make a booking online, we pass your card details securely to our payment processing partner (WorldPay, Pay Pal, Just Giving etc) as part of the payment process. We do this in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Security Standard, and do not store the card details on any of our own systems.
With regards to UK Standing Orders payments, we hold your bank account details on our secured systems and securely liaise with your bank direct over the establishment of your standing order.
When you register with us, you are stating that you are 18 years of age or over, or are a minor acting with parental consent. You agree that any information you provide to us about yourself upon registration or at any time is true.
We cannot be held responsible for the privacy of data collected by websites not owned or managed by East Sussex WRAS, including those linked through our website.
Emails are not always secure, and they may be intercepted or changed after they have been sent. East Sussex WRAS cannot accept liability if this happens. The contents of emails reflect the author’s views and are not necessarily the views of the charity.
Please do not send East Sussex WRAS any sensitive or financial data by email.
The information in emails is confidential; if you have received an email in error, please notify us immediately and delete it without copying, using or sharing its contents with anyone.
You have many rights under data protection legislation. If you wish to use any of these rights or discuss them further please contact us using the details given at the top of this notice. Your main rights are:
Transparency over how we use your personal information (right to be informed).
This privacy notice, as well as any additional information that is provided to you either at the time you provided your details, or later, is intended to provide you with this information.
Request a copy of the information we hold about you - this is sometimes called a data subject access or data subject request (right of access).
We will supply any information you ask for that we hold about you as soon as possible, but this may take up to 60 days. We will not charge you for this other than in exceptional circumstances. You will normally be asked for proof of identity as we need to be sure we are only releasing your personal data to you.
Update or amend the information we hold about you if it is wrong (right of rectification).
Ask us to stop using your information (right to restrict processing).
In certain situations, you have the right to ask for processing of your personal data to be restricted because there is some disagreement about its accuracy or legitimate usage.
Ask us to remove your personal information from our records (right to be ‘forgotten’)
Note: where you have requested that we do not send you marketing materials, we will need to keep some limited information to ensure that you are not contacted in the future.
Withdraw your consent
Where we process your data based on your consent (for example, to send you marketing texts or emails), you can withdraw that consent at any time.
Object to the processing of your information for marketing purposes (right to object)
You also have a right to object to us processing data where we are relying on it being within our legitimate interests to do so (for example, to send you direct marketing by post).
Obtain and reuse your personal data for your own purposes (right to data portability).
Not be subject to a decision when it is based on automated processing (automated decision making and profiling).
If you do not think that we have processed your data in accordance with this notice or would like to make a complaint, please contact East Sussex WRAS in the first instance.
Making a complaint
We welcome feedback as it helps us to develop as a charity and gives us the valuable opportunity to monitor and improve our services. We set ourselves a high standard of customer care and if this is not met we want to hear about it.
If you would like to make a complaint or discuss any questions or problems, please contact us at:
East Sussex WRAS, Unit 2, The Shaw Barn, A22, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD.
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority
If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law you may wish to contact the Fundraising Regulator or the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):
2nd Floor, CAN Mezzanine Building
49-51 East Road
Telephone: 0300 999 3407
Information Commissioners Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Employees / Volunteers – Applications, Current and Past.
If you apply to work at East Sussex WRAS, we will only use the information you give us to process your application and to monitor recruitment statistics. If we want to disclose information to someone outside International Animal Rescue - for example, if we need a reference or plan to use an external supplier to run background checks - we will make sure we tell you beforehand, unless we are required to disclose this information by law.
If you are unsuccessful in your job application, we will hold your personal information for 6 months after we’ve finished recruiting for the post you applied for. After this date we will destroy or delete your information.
If you begin employment with us, we will put together a file about your employment. We keep the information in this file secure, and will only use it for matters that apply directly to your employment. We may store banking information on our systems for the purpose of making salary payments.
Once you stop working for us, we will keep this file according to legal requirements and our record retention guidelines.
You can contact us to find out more about this.
If you apply for a job or volunteering opportunity we will also collect information so we can assess your suitability for the role. Please click here to read or full Volunteer Privacy Notice.Follow us!
Please click on the image below to download and read a copy of East Sussex WRAS's Health & Safety Policy Statement.Follow us!