Receptionist spent 40 days and nights living in Ipswich animal shelter

Tracey Salmon from Felixstowe has been shortlisted for Employee of the Year

Tracey Salmon from Felixstowe has been shortlisted as employee of the year in the Petplan & ADCH Animal Charity Awards 2021 for her work at the Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre. - Credit: Blue Cross Suffolk Rehoming Centre

A receptionist who spent 40 days and nights living by herself in a Blue Cross centre so she could ensure the animals were looked after during lockdown is up for a national award.

Tracey Salmon went above and beyond to ensure the dogs and cats at the Suffolk rehoming centre in Ipswich were cared for when the first national shutdown was brought in in March 2020. 

With all but essential journeys banned under the restrictions, it was feared the animals might not get the constant attention they needed.

As a result, the 47-year-old slept in a flat attached to the shelter, so she could constantly be on hand to tend to the animals at the centre, which rehomes 250 cats, dogs and small animals every year. 

Forgoing home comforts, the Felixstowe resident made meals in the kitchen of the apartment and relied on her manager, who lives close by, to help her with other work in the centre. 

She has now been shortlisted for the Petplan and ADCH Animal Charity Awards 2021 for employee of the year award after going above and beyond to support our four-legged friends.

"It was quite surreal but I really had the opportunity to go out and socialise with the animals," said Ms Salmon, who has worked at the centre for 17 years.

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"it's such a lovely beautiful area where we are so it was really nice."

Despite her sacrifice, Ms Salmon said she was "surprised" to have been nominated.

The modest worker said she felt everyone at Blue Cross centre stepped up to take care of the animals during the Covid crisis over the past year.

“There are many people just getting on with all these sorts of things because they see the need to do so, so this nomination I feel is on behalf of everyone who is ‘doing their bit’ for the wellbeing for animals.

"We have taken on animals with more behavioural problems [lately] and with social distancing, we need to be able to give them the attention they need."

She also helped collect food and bedding from the centre to donate to animal charities such as Hillside, Hallswood, Mistley Park Place and foodbanks like St Johns the Baptist Church in Felixstowe, Families in Need (FIND) in Ipswich, BASIC and Tiffers Bus Shelters. 

Blue Cross Suffolk centre manager Clare Williamson said: "Like all charities I think there will be s

Bleu Cross Suffolk in Ipswich rehomes animals that have behavioural problems - Credit: BLUE CROSS

Petplan's head of marketing, Isabella von Mesterhazy, said: “It was fantastic to receive so many inspirational nominations and we’re looking forward to celebrating with all of our worthy finalists.

"It’s also an opportunity to say thank you to all of those in the animal charity sector who’ve continued to look after the UK’s animals during Covid-19.”

Now in their ninth year, the Petplan and ADCH Animal Charity Awards recognise the work carried out by animal charities and not-for-profit organisations across the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands.

The awards ceremony, hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, will take place on May 20 at 8.30pm in a virtual Facebook event, being held @PetplanUK

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