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Two tawny owl chicks rescued by Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service in Enfield
Two tawny owl chicks rescued by Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service in Enfield

Ruth Robinson on why Trent Park animal charity Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service needs our support

I first met Barry and June Smitherman when I delivered a dehydrated hedgehog to them many, many years ago.

At that time they were running a wildlife rescue service from their back garden. A few years later I was delighted to hear that they’d opened a wildlife centre in Trent Park, right on my doorstep! My daughter remembers visiting when she was younger – particularly seeing the enormous pig and the bird that greeted her with “hello” when she walked past the aviary.

I’ve visited the centre many times since then with my husband, who is a keen photographer, and I’ve seen how the centre has grown and diversified with so many different animals now being given shelter. These include foxes, deer, terrapins, owls, all sorts of other wild birds, but also abandoned or unwanted domestic and farm animals such as hens, rabbits, pigs, sheep and ponies. It’s a lovely, child-friendly place where parents can bring their children to see and learn all about the animals around us.

Over the years I’ve taken other small injured or orphaned animals to the centre, called them out to rescue an injured fox (and more birds) and often asked them for advice – which Barry has always been happy to give. I’ve also picked up medication there to treat mange in the foxes that visit our garden – one vixen used to curl up on one of our garden chairs.

Living in this part of North London where the suburbs meet the countryside, we’ve got so much wildlife around us – a neighbour even saw a muntjac deer in the next road! The downside is that sharing our urban environment with wildlife means that injuries will occur and in Enfield we’re so fortunate to have this rescue centre in our borough that will care for and treat these animals, release them back into the wild, or give them a safe home for life if they need it.

Barry tells me he’s now getting phone calls from all over the country from people desperate to get help because other wildlife rescue centres are no longer answering their phones during this crisis. As reported by the Dispatch, it would be such a sad loss if this wonderful centre did not survive during the pandemic – so please help by donating if you possibly can.

Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service Enfield needs to raise £10,000 per month to survive while it remains closed to the public. Donate online: