Crowds flock to trust's open day

Despite so many other events taking place on the same day, and regardless of the threatening rain and thunderstorms, there was a bumper turnout at the trust's open day last weekend.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 04 August, 2018, 12:18
Ellie, Errol and Dick.

Some of the open day visitors are already firm friends of the trust, such as Jennah and her mum Karen, of Ayton, who brought in a couple of beautiful framed drawings done by Karen for us to sell.

But it was also lovely to see so many new faces, particularly children and young people, who had come to find out more about the animals in the trust’s care and how we look after them.

Visitors were able to see some of the latest hedgehog arrivals in the recovery room, many of whom are just tiny and will probably need to overwinter with us.

I noticed afterwards that several of these youngsters had been sponsored by visitors, so this will be an enormous help in paying for their food and any medicines they might need in the time they’re with us.

One lady, who had brought in a little hog just the day before, returned on the open day – so Pippa the hedgehog’s rescuer has also become her sponsor.

Another visitor asked about Winkie, the tiny owlet she’d brought in – and sponsored – many weeks ago.

Winkie has grown a lot since then and is now in the large flight along with four other owls all about the same age.

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Unfortunately (unless you’re another tawny owl, I guess) it’s now just about impossible to tell which one is Winkie.

Errol the trust’s ‘mascot’ tawny owl was on top form perching patiently on Dick’s hand while Dick explained to visitors Errol’s story and how he’d become a permanent resident at the Rollo Centre, with his own custom-built aviary paid for by a kind supporter.

While the aim of the trust is always to return injured or ill animals to the wild when they’re fit enough, because of the severe head injury he suffered, Errol has never regained the feisty predator behaviour he would need to survive.

After seeing the animals both outdoors and indoors, visitors could buy a whole range of owl, swan and hedgehog-related gifts, including the trust’s 2019 calendar and – a first next year – our special 2019 hedgehog calendar.

Jim and Shirley did a roaring trade with their plant and produce stall outside the office, and there was a steady stream of people enjoying the fantastic scones, cakes and cups of tea served up by Pat and Kay. Afterwards, the trust held its AGM, which Pat will report on in next week’s article. All in all, the open day raised £997, all thanks to the generosity of the families and individuals who came along and the people who donated items as prizes or to sell.

But perhaps just as valuable is the fact that the trust was able to show people what we do and why local wildlife needs our support, now more than ever before.