Hedgehog hospital cancels fundraiser as animals have not hibernated
A HEDGEHOG hospital is unable to hold a vital fundraiser because 185 pairs of eyes won't go to sleep.
Hedgehog Care, in Authorpe, won't be holding its annual Mrs Tiggy Winkle's Washing Line Sale due to the mild winter confusing the hedgehogs.
Founder Elaine Drewery, 74, said: "Although we have had a couple of weeks of snow the hedgehogs have been confused by the mild winter and don't know when to go into hibernation.
"Because of this we are unable to get the premises ready for an open day."
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The prickly critters should go into hibernation around the end of October, which gives Elaine and her work partner Stacey Batham, pictured, time to work on other projects.
Elaine added: "I'm too tired to look after both the animals and prepare the home, and Stacey is pregnant, so we feel the best thing to do is to leave it this year."
Now in its fourth decade, the hospital takes care of about 1,500 weak, ill or injured hedgehogs each year.
Currently, there are about 185 hedgehogs of different ages and ailments relying on Elaine and Stacey to make them strong for future release.
Elaine funds it from her pension and donations, and relies heavily on the public to feed her patients. She said: "With many sanctuaries full, the only solution is to offer DIY advice where appropriate.
"None are ever refused at Hedgehog Care, we simply extend our 24-hour day to 30 and convert another bedroom.
"My house is full of hedgehogs that need round-the-clock care. I am old, weary and worn but my conscience is clear and I'm never lonely."
Stacey added: "If people would like to help us, there are various ways they can do so.
"We are always on the lookout for toilet and kitchen rolls, postage stamps and food.
"We feed the hedgehogs on mainly dog food in any flavour apart from fish, dried mealworms and granulated peanuts.
"It sounds very specific, but it's what we do to keep the hogs happy."
If you would like to donate or for more advice, call Elaine on 01507 450221.