Wildlife hospital Foxy Lodge in Hemsby launches £2000 appeal for new intensive care ward

Tonia Garner who is facing her fear of heights in a fundraising skydive for Foxy Lodge the wildlife

Tonia Garner who is facing her fear of heights in a fundraising skydive for Foxy Lodge the wildlife rescue centre she runs with husband John. Photo: IFAW - Credit: Archant

As patient numbers soar the animal lover behind a wildlife hospital's fundraising appeal is taking to the skies.

John and Tonia Garner received a national award at the House of Lords for their work at Foxy Lodge -

John and Tonia Garner received a national award at the House of Lords for their work at Foxy Lodge - an animal rescue centre they set up with money from their wedding. Photo: IFAW - Credit: Archant

Foxy Lodge in Hemsby needs to raise £2000 to replace the last of its main intensive care wards for birds, an outdoor aviary which is past its best and looking shabby.

The eight-year-old structure has been home to a varied flock of patients including sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, robins, a thrush, pigeons, tawny owls, jays, jackdaws, and currently nine young crows and a quail.

It includes a nursery area and space for fledgelings as they prepare for release.

John Garner said the main money spinner revolved around a skydive being nervously undertaken by his wife Tonia.

The couple are passionate about caring for animals at their home and rely on donations.

Retired railway worker Mr Garner said: 'It has been home to thousands of wildlife over the years and we could probably get a few more years out of it but we have modernised the rest of the place and to be honest it looks a bit of an eyesore.'

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Because of restrictions on space and concerns about noise the hospital is having to turn away seagull chicks.

Normally it would take up to 90 every year.

'Because we are getting better known we are getting more and more wildlife but we have not got facilities for seagulls. When you have 45 to 50 and you have to put them away every night it is quite a task.

'We love seagulls but they are very noisy.'

Mr Garner said he was stunned by his wife's decision to plummet 13,000ft to the ground in a daring tandem skydive.

The jump, taking place at Beccles' Ellough airfield in the Autumn, involves a 6000ft free-fall before the parachute opens.

'Thrill seekers would think it would be great, me included,' Mr Garner said. 'But one night she just said 'I will do it for Foxy'.

'It is a hell of a big thing for her.'

The new enclosure will be made of galvanised metal.

Writing on the donation page Mrs Garner said the enclosure was desperately needed, describing herself as 'terrified of heights but also passionate about our rescue.'

To visit Foxy Lodge's donation page click here.

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