Blue Cross closure could hit county

VOLUNTEERS who give up thousands of man-hours a year between them to help animals say closing Felixstowe's Blue Cross centre will have a massive impact across the county.

FELIXSTOWE: Volunteers who give up thousands of man-hours a year between them to help animals say closing Felixstowe's Blue Cross centre will have a massive impact across the county.

The 65 volunteers who willingly give up their free time for the charity are all totally behind the Evening Star's campaign to save the treasured animal adoption and welfare centre.

There has been a phenomenal response to the campaign so far - with people signing petition forms and coupons, displaying posters in their businesses, homes and cars, and hundreds adding their voice in letters and on-line.

Nicky Abbott, a volunteer at the centre, in Walton High Street, said: “What really is making people angry is that they are not closing our centre because they cannot afford to run it - they have simply decided to abandon this area to help animals elsewhere. Losing the centre in Felixstowe would have massive implications across Suffolk.

“Animals here would suffer without a doubt if the centre was no longer doing its fabulous work.”

Volunteers do a wide range of work to supplement that done by staff, including dog walking and preparing pets for their new homes.

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“The main aim is to help the animals so when they go to a new home they fit in perfectly rather than coming back and being re-advertised a few weeks later,” said Mrs Abbott, whose two cats Charlotte and Sabrina were both from the Blue Cross.

“The animals are taught to socialise and we play tapes to them every day of sounds such as babies crying, gunshots, doorbells, thunder, fireworks, washing machines, to help them get used to sounds they will hear in their new home, to make them confident and unafraid.

“Kittens are played with gently from three weeks so they get used to human touch, and then gradually and gently they are separated from their siblings.”

The charity, which wants to close Felixstowe to set up a new centre in the north-west because it claims this would help more pets, has promised to listen and take into account all views before it makes a final decision.

Send us your messages of support for the Save the Blue Cross campaign - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Sign the Evening Star Save Our Blue Cross petition today - you can sign it on-line or download further copies from our website www.eveningstar.co.uk and get friends, family and neighbours to pledge their support.

You can also leave your comments on-line about the closure proposal.

Display a poster in your window - collect one from the Evening Star's Ipswich and Felixstowe offices.

Write to Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton at Blue Cross head office, Shilton Road, Burford, Oxon OX18 4PF.