New orphan animal unit named after volunteer

Trevor Weeks opens new animal centre SUS-160302-104845001
Trevor Weeks opens new animal centre SUS-160302-104845001

Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service’s (WRAS) has opened a new animal rearing unit at its wildlife hospital in Whitesmith.

Named the Monica Russell BCAv Orphan Rearing Unit, the new facility is over three times the size of the previous temporary unit. It has been named after WRAS volunteer Monica Russell, 68, from Eastbourne, who has volunteered for more than 20 years helping wildlife charities with orphan rearing.

Monica is suffering from a rare and incurable form of bile duct cancer, and sadly was too ill to come to the opening. However, her husband Brian opened the centre on her behalf.

Trevor Weeks MBE, founder and operations manager of the charity, said, “Monica managed to see the unit a few weeks ago when she wasn’t so ill, and she was really touched when she heard WRAS was going to name the unit after her.

“She has loved helping both WRAS and Folly Wildlife Rescue.

“She was very emotional when she heard the unit was to be named after her and to see her legacy of orphan rearing live on. “

Husband Brian said, “This has been very difficult time for us and seeing all the hard work which has gone into this and getting it open today is simply amazing. On behalf of Monica I can’t thank everyone enough.”.

Trevor said Monica’s contribution to WRAS has been considerable over her 20 years of voluntary service.

He said, “I have known Monica for many years, and she has helped us take in and rear thousands of baby wildlife.

“I have seen her miraculously turned round numerous emaciated, hypothermic, premature baby wildlife like foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, stoats and more.

“She is amazing with the babies. Not only that she has been a big help at WRAS with advice and support, helping as a committee member, trustee and chairperson and also helping on rescues, at fundraising events and so much more.”

WRAS’s Casualty Centre 
is now gearing up for the orphan season, which can start as early as March.

Visit the website at to find out more about the charity.

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