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!