April marked the beginning of the WI year, and the East Markham WI committee was delighted that almost all members renewed their subscriptions. Members had the opportunity to sign up for future events, including a coach outing in September to see the musical ‘The Calendar Girls’ in Doncaster. This event is open to non-members at a cost of £47.00. In response to a member’s request, members were asked to vote on allowing proxy voting for the Committee and President at the May Annual Meeting. The decision to allow proxy voting was unanimous.
The guest speaker for the evening was Sue Smith from 7th Heaven Hedgehog Rescue in Retford. Sue shared her story of setting up and running the rescue centre, starting with six cages in her husband’s potting shed and expanding to a larger shed in the garden as more hedgehogs arrived. The centre now houses over 70 hedgehogs. She discussed the challenges faced during flooding incidents and how the safety of the animals was a top priority. With assistance from the RSPCA, most of the animals were saved.
The centre provides care for injured, sick, and abandoned hedgehogs, either in the hospital or other designated sheds. Measures are taken to keep males and females separate to prevent breeding. Sue explained the importance of cleanliness, with daily cleaning of the cages.
Sue discussed the hibernation process, during which their body temperature drops to about 5 degrees. She emphasized the significance of a proper diet, highlighting that certain foods like bread and milk should not be provided to them. Common injuries occur due to road accidents and encounters with garden tools, particularly strimmers. Rear leg injuries can lead to amputation, as hedgehogs can still move with one back leg but require both front legs for mobility.
The Rescue is funded through donations. Building maintenance is an ongoing financial burden, and recent fundraising efforts were directed toward replacing the rotting wooden floor with a concrete one. Volunteers provide daily assistance, and Sue estimated that it costs around £5.00 per day to care for each hedgehog.
The Rescue has now been granted charitable status, enabling them to claim an additional £2.50 from the Government for every £10.00 donation made by a UK taxpayer under the Gift Aid scheme. After the meeting, members had the opportunity to purchase hedgehog food and small craft items.
On Tuesday 20th June at 7.15pm in East Markham Village Hall, the WI will welcome Dawn Cragg MBE, a local and renowned medical beautician and tattooist, who will share insights about her life and work. This meeting is open to visitors at a fee of £5.00.
New members (annual fee £46.00) are always welcome, and those interested in experiencing WI life in East Markham can attend as visitors. For more information call 01777 871567 or find the group on Facebook.