A HEREFORDSHIRE man has cycled more than 300 miles to raise money for Herefordshire Wildlife Rescue (HWR) after he found a distressed swan on the side of the road. 

Herbie Knott, aged 74, is used to putting in the miles, and has so far cycled 26,350 miles for various charities, including St Michael’s Hospice and Prostate Cancer UK.

The retired journalist met Dr Sasha Norris, a zoologist who runs HWR in Bodenham, when he called about the distressed swan. Her swift response meant that the swan was quickly returned to the safety of the river. 


"This is a typical rescue for us," said Dr Norris, who has helped polecat kits, hedgehogs,  owl chicks and fox cubs.

"We’ve also  been called to extremely rare animals, such as a goshawk and a lesser spotted woodpecker."

"I once had a call from builder working on a site, saying that there was an enormous bird, the size of a swan, but with a dagger for a beak. It was a Gannett, an obligatory seabird, which had gone off course.

"We have children arriving at our houses in tears with a little broken hedgehogs or songbirds, cat owners call us regularly, not knowing what to do with injured and bleeding  fledglings.

"We often spend  long periods of time talking with and supporting the public when they have seen animals injured, or in distress or die. There is an enormous need for the work we do but we can’t do it alone anymore." 

Fellow pensioner Ruth Hemington has also raised £500 for the charity by collecting cash instead of receiving presents on her 80th birthday.

Hereford Times: Dr Sascha Norris (left) with Ruth HemmingtonDr Sascha Norris (left) with Ruth Hemmington (Image: Herefordshire Wildlife Rescue)

"We are absolutely blown away by the generosity of Herbie and Ruth," added Dr Norris.

"Although the sanctuary is not open to the public, we are happy to show anyone round who would like to sponsor us, to meet our ravens, foxes, owls, deer, donkeys, goats, and 30 other species.

"We are a registered charity and need to make this vital service sustainable so that we are here for wildlife and people into the future. We are so grateful to Herbie and Ruth and anyone who helps us make that a reality."

The charity is inviting businesses to support individual animal enclosures ranging from a new canary or weasel aviary (£500) to a grass fox run (£2,000 to £5,000), an initiative which has kicked off by a generous donation from Burgill Valley Golf Club.

For more information, call Dr Sascha Norris on 07802 460884 or email sasha@siren.org.uk