PUBLISHED: 05:40 17 November 2014
A happy home at last
Redwings Horse Sanctuary was officially registered 30 years ago and now helps horses all over the country, and has visitor centres in Norfolk, Essex and Warwickshire.
Redwings is home to more than 1,300 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. Around 200 new animals arrive every year to find safety after being mistreated, neglected, abandoned or abused.
“To see the physical, behavioural and emotional transformation of a horse or pony found in appalling conditions to a healthy and happy animal makes all the work worthwhile,” says Redwings’ chief executive, Lynn Cutress. “Redwings is 100pc publicly funded, and to witness the overwhelming support and generosity of our supporters inspires us to work even harder for equine welfare. It is so thrilling to be able to provide a happy and secure home here at the sanctuary to horses who have been abandoned or badly treated, and through our rehoming programme we even get to see some of them have a second chance at life in a loving and caring home. It’s such rewarding work.”
Today Maya and Esther are the poster girls of Norfolk-based national horse rescue charity Redwings. Just four years ago Maya was thin, anaemic and suffering from muscle wastage. She arrived at Redwings in 2010 as part of a group of seven horses rescued from a farm and slowly regained her strength to now live happily at the newest Redwings visitor centre, in Aylsham.
Esther the donkey was two months old when she was rescued with her mother, Martha. Too weak to walk by herself, she had to be carried to the horse-box. Today she is thriving at the Caldecott visitor centre, near Great Yarmouth, and is a Redwings Adoption Star. Redwings runs an adoption club which costs just £12.50 a year to help care for a horse, pony, donkey or mule.
<blob>Redwings has two visitor centres in Norfolk. Both are free to visit. The Caldecott Visitor Centre has more than 70 acres of paddocks and the new Aylsham Visitor Centre is open every Friday through to Monday.
The Waveney Valley Hogspital specialises in sick hedgehogs. Anna Hunter and her boyfriend Justin Clarke run the hedgehog hospital from their home.
Anna rescued her first hedgehog as a child. Once she had nursed it back to health her mum persuaded her to release the prickly pet back into the wild, and ever since she has been devoted to hedgehogs. Anna started putting out water and specialist hedgehog food in her garden near Harleston. She and Justin went on a course run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to learn how to care for sick animals and the Hogspital was launched.
She and Justin have successfully raised day-old orphan hoglets and nursed collapsed hedgehogs, cold and hovering on the brink of death, back to life.
“We get a lot of support from our local vet, Linden House in Diss,” says Anna. “They see all the injured and broken-limbed hedgehogs and take in little and sick hogs when I am at work.”
Anna and Justin are saving for a new shed for the Hogspital and would also love to recruit more volunteers
<blob>For more information, or to offer help or a donation, visit www.hogspital.co.uk or follow the progress of the prickly patients on the Waveney Valley Hogspital Facebook page.
Huwi the West Highland Terrier has recently made a lot of fellow Westie friends.
Owners Richard and Pat English, of King’s Lynn, organised a walk to raise awareness of the national charity Westie Rehoming. Nineteen dogs and their owners took part, and the Westie wander around the Sandringham estate is set to become an annual event.
Huwi was a rescue Westie himself. “Don’t look a Westie in the eyes or you are doomed!” laughs Richard. “We are totally besotted with Huwi now.” The walk resulted in at least one rehoming and several more inquiries.
George the boxer dog became an internet sensation when his picture was retweeted by TV personality and animal lover Paul O’Grady. George was a Battersea Dogs Home rescue dog, and Paul is a well-known supporter of the home.
Although George now lives in Norfolk with owners Amanda Oldfield and Stephen Thompson, their son Harry says: “If he could talk he would be Cockney! He suffers from hayfever and is allergic to grass, trees, pollen . . . ”
George goes to work with his owners every day, where he helps them run the Wrought Iron Bed Company, in Shernborne, near Sandringham. George loves sitting watching the world go by from his favourite spot in the bay window off the office.
“A couple of weeks ago Battersea tweeted a story about one of their rescue dogs and I tweeted back about George, and then Paul O’Grady retweeted it,” says Harry.
George shares his home and owners with his best friend, a rehomed black Labrador called Willow.
Kind-hearted Norfolk people are caring for animals right across the county. There are specialist rescue centres for everything from owls to cats and foxes to farm animals. Three more of the charities looking out for animals in need across the county are:
PACT Animal Sanctuary at River Farm, Woodrising, Hingham, NR9 4PJ; 01362 820775.
The animal sanctuary rescues, rehabilitates and, where possible, re-homes, neglected, injured and abandoned animals. There are more than 1200 animals and birds being cared for at the sanctuary.
The RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, Station Road, East Winch, near King’s Lynn, PE32 1NR; 0300 123 0709.
This wildlife hospital looks after orphaned, sick and injured seals and other British wildlife, with birds making up 80pc casualties. There is a lot of emphasis on post-release monitoring of animals.
Hillside Animal Sanctuary, Hall Lane, Frettenham, near Norwich, NR12 7LT; 01603 736200.
It was the plight of battery hens which inspired Wendy Valentine, who had already helped launch Redwings Horse Sanctuary, to open Hillside Animal Sanctuary.
Hillside is now home to more than 2,000 animals.