Prickly Business for Kind Joan

Prickly Business for Kind Joan From Express And Star

While most people only see the odd hedgehog each year, Joan Lockley has thrown open her door to more than 80 of the spiky creatures this year alone.During the summer she had 13 of the needy animals living in her dining room and she is forever putting her hand in her pocket to ensure the hedgehogs in her care are fed and watered.

Kind-hearted Mrs Lockley, of Leveson Avenue, Cheslyn Hay, said this year had been the busiest she has experienced in terms of the volume of hedgehogs needing help. “I’ve had over 80 since March this year. It was quite a dry summer so there just wasn’t the same amount of slugs around for them to eat and they come out when they’re hungry. “If you ever see a hedgehog out in the day, there’s something wrong and you should take it inside,” she said.

“The youngest ones I’ve had were just a couple of hours old but they didn’t make it. You do get attached to them and I did cry once when I watched one die in front of me. It was awful,” she added. Mrs Lockley, aged 62, is one of just three people in Staffordshire registered as a carer with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

It keeps her phone ringing with people desperate to help the vulnerable creatures they have stumbled across or vets needing someone to offer a home to the latest hedgehog taken into their surgery. Mrs Lockley got involved four years ago and her friend Sue, who lives in Cannock, has also been a carer for 10 years.

When they receive the hedgehogs they warm them up on hot water bottles or heat pads and give them tender loving care until they weigh at least 1lb and can fend for themselves. Sue, who is currently looking after two hedgehogs that weighed just four ounces and were found in Heath Hayes, said: “I’ve had to go out at 11pm, 12am before now. I’ve had calls from all over the Midlands.

Anyone concerned about a hedgehog they find should take it indoors, keep it warm and covered up and feed it water and cat food, or call Mrs Lockley on 01922 419532.