Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Friday, 22 July 2016


Animal lovers will be saddened, as I was, to read of the death of Les Stocker, founder of the wildlife hospital, St Tiggywinkles.
I always associate St Tiggywinkles with injured hedgehogs, although its scope nowadays is much more far reaching.

Philip Larkin’s famous poem, The Mower, which is featured below, addresses the fate of one such unlucky creature.
Les Stocker set up his animal rescue centre in a small garden shed in Buckinghamshire back in 1978 and contacted local vets, police and RSPCA to ask them to send wildlife casualties on to him for treatment.
By 1983 his interest had developed into a fully-fledged charity, the Wildlife Hospital Trust, an enterprise which expanded rapidly.
In 1991 a teaching hospital was opened, which now boasts a triage section, operating theatre, x-ray unit, diagnostic lab, nurseries for juvenile birds and mammals, convalescent wards, an intensive care unit for swans and therapy pools for otters, seals and waterbirds.
In 1991 Les Stocker was appointed MBE for services to wildlife.
In 2002 he was made an honorary associate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.


The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

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