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Grace the Hedgehog and her team of helpers were at the Heatherside Recreation Ground on Saturday 7th April 2018 as they begin to make the Heatherside and Parkside wards ‘hedgehog friendly’ and initiative that will eventually cover the whole of Surrey Heath.
Britain’s hedgehogs are in steep population decline with a drop of 33% since 2000 - our prickly friends really do need some help if they are to survive.
We know that Heatherside and Parkside have hedgehogs in the area and that some of you are lucky enough to have hedgehogs regularly visiting your gardens. However, many of you have not seen hedgehogs for a number of years.
This supports our surveys that show isolated pockets of hedgehog populations throughout the area. Grace the hedgehog is here to encourage you to do what you can to help her friends. There are three key things that we hope everyone who lives in the area will do.
Just like us hedgehogs need a few basics to survive. They need somewhere safe to call home. That could be some grass left slightly longer, a wood pile, hedgerow or shrub bed.
They also need a natural menu. They eat worms, beetles, slugs and snails all of which will be in a garden planted with native wildflowers and plants. They also need a source of fresh water, this could be from a pond or a saucer of water replaced daily. Finally, they need a safe environment so you need to think before you strim or mow, turn your compost heap, ensure that if you have a pond there is access out of it to avoid any accidents and make sure drains are covered so they can’t fall in.
Grace knows that if most of the people in Heatherside and Parkside did these three simple things that her friends in the area would be happy, healthy and safe.
Our day started early to put up our wonderful new and very large hedgehog marquee and we were delighted to see people coming over to see us right from the start. That early trickle of people soon turned into a steady flow of people talking hedgehogs and buying Grace toys from the stall.
We had a stunning raffle prize to win a framed print of Grace signed by rock legend Brian May. Of course, the star of the day was Grace herself who spent time meeting her adoring fans, posing for selfies, and playing on the park equipment! Grace also invited some of her special friends to join her for the day.
Actor Peter Egan, star of Downton Abbey soon attracted a crowd and was happy to have selfies and sign a few autographs. We were delighted to welcome Lord and Lady Stockton who have been very supportive of the Amazing Grace campaign and the work of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue. It was wonderful to have the support of Surrey Heaths MP Micheal Gove, Cllr Valerie White - Mayor of Surrey Heath and local councillors: Councillor Ian Cullen, Councillor Paul Ilnicki, Councillor Jonathan Lytle, Councillor Edward Hawkins, Councillor Josephine Hawkins, Councillor Darryl Ratira
Grace then pulled the biggest surprise of the day when Queen legend Dr Brian May arrived. Brian spent time chatting to the assembled crowds, posing for selfies and signing autographs.
Brian has supported the Amazing Grace campaign through his charity Save Me Trust that he set up to give a voice to wild animals. Brian said; “it is vital we do something now to help hedgehogs. Can you believe this iconic species is in such terrible decline?” I encourage everyone in Heatherside and Parkside to do at least one thing to help hedgehogs but it would be great if you can do more”
Anne Brummer from Harper Asprey Wildife Rescue said; “Grace has had an amazing time in Heatherside and Parkside - it has been incredible to see so many people come out to help their local hedgehogs” Anne continued “ We are looking forward to meeting many more people throughout Surrey Heath in the coming months and want to say a special thanks to everyone who came to meet Grace today. Heatherside and Parkside officially rocks!
Make Heatherside & Parkside Hedgehog Friendly
In the last 40 years, Britain’s population of hedgehogs has declined from 35 million to less than a million Are you hedgehog friendly?
Help us to make Heatherside and Parkside hedgehog friendly.
Join us on Heatherside on Saturday 7th April 2018 and meet some of our spiky residents and find out how you can help them. 10 am to 4 pm
We are based in Windlesham and work in partnership with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to save Britain’s hedgehogs one village at a time. We are making Surrey Heath ‘Hedgehog Friendly”. Windlesham is the first fully ‘Hedgehog Friendly’ village and we have been working with residents and councillors for the last year to increase habitat and awareness. Over the next few months, all the wards within Surrey Heath will have their own hedgehog day and we will work closely with residents. The campaign works with the local community and volunteers to raise awareness of the issues that hedgehog’s face in Britain today and provides help and advice.
We will set up and manage a hedgehog day in all the wards at a local pub or community centre. Local residents are invited by fliers through their doors, banners, and posters in shops and around the area. On the day of the event, we will have hedgehog experts on hand to give practical advice to members of the local community.
Once the basic advice is out with the people everyone can make their own gardens ‘Hedgehog Friendly”. for those who wish to do more we will provide additional support and training including our unique Hedgehog release programme. This allows you to release hedgehogs into your garden, provided you supply a safe run and support them with food in the initial stages.
The next stage of Surrey Heath Borough a ‘hedgehog friendly’ area is with the support of Environment Minister Micheal Gove. It will be the first Borough in the UK to achieve that status within two years.
Every ward in Surrey Heath will be having a ‘Hedgehog Day’ in the local community very soon. Every event will be well publicised through the press and other community groups and associations are welcomed to ensure maximum success on the day.
Surrey Heath is leading this campaign to protect our favourite wild animal - the native hedgehog. They have been in the UK for hundreds of thousands of years and we want to ensure they will survive well into the future. We are leading from the front with this initiative that will eventually extend throughout the whole of the UK.
We made a documentary called “Meet the hedgehogs" with Brian and Steve Backshall that has had great response and is shown on Channel 5 on catch up and is current on all Virgin flights.
Runnymede homes are currently working with us to sustain wildlife throughout development with unique hedgehog boxes called “Heavy Metal Hedgehog Houses” made specifically for developers.