Charity chiefs attacked for 'disgrace' closure plan

FELIXSTOWE: Volunteers today accused Blue Cross chiefs of putting money before animals - and abandoning needy dogs and cats in Suffolk.

Richard Cornwell

FELIXSTOWE: Volunteers today accused Blue Cross chiefs of putting money before animals - and abandoning needy dogs and cats in Suffolk.

They say closing the Felixstowe centre to open a new costly centre in the north west is a “disgrace” and will leave big problems for homeless animals in this area.

Thousands of people, who are supporting The Evening Star's campaign, are angry, hurt and disappointed by the charity's proposals to close the animal adoption and welfare site in Walton High Street.


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The campaign is growing rapidly every day - with more and more people signing petitions and making their views known.

And the Star has been inundated with thousands of readers wanting their views heard.

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Many of those who have signed our petitions have reflected their overwhelming sense of duty to keep the much-loved Blue Cross centre open.

It had been expected that a new �1million centre would be built in the Felixstowe area. Volunteers want to know what work was done to find land for a new centre.

Was, for example, Trinity College, Cambridge, owner of 3,400 acres of the Felixstowe peninsula, including vacant paddocks and stables, asked about a site?

Volunteer Nicky Abbott said: “The Blue Cross should be expanding into the north-west of the country - but it should not do that at the expense of animals in Suffolk.

“Animals that in future would not be helped at all. It should be doing both.

“This looks like someone sitting down with a map and a calculator and not thinking about the impact on the animals.

“The Blue Cross is not a poor charity - it has an income of more than �20million a year.”

But Blue Cross chief executive Kim Hamilton denied the proposed changes were all about money and said the charity's funds were becoming “increasingly stretched”.

“We had been searching for an alternative site in the area for many years,” she said.

“This is not a sell-off to get cash - this is not what it is about at all. It's about the welfare of the animals and helping as many animals as we can.”

To find out more about the campaign against the closure of the Blue Cross visit www.youtube.com/user/archantsuffolk.

Let us know your views on the Blue Cross closure proposals by writing to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or comment on-line at www.eveningstar.co.uk

FELIXSTOWE: News of its possible closure came as a huge shock to staff at Felixstowe's Blue Cross centre - especially as they had been expecting completely the opposite.

Officials at the charity had been working on a project for a �1million new and bigger centre for the area.

They had been searching for land - between four and eight acres - with the aim to sell off the centre in Walton High Street to help fund the development to improve care for homeless and needy animals in the area.

It was a project which was long overdue as the animal adoption and welfare centre needed considerable updating.

All the research showed there was scope to expand its services - especially as other animal charities are under severe pressure.

In fact, managers at the charity believed if enough land could be found the new Felixstowe centre could look after not just dogs and cats and other small animals, but branch out into the equine field - and care for horses, too. It was an exciting project.

Then, after the arrival of new chief executive Kim Hamilton, there was an about-turn.

All building projects were put on ice - except those already underway - and a complete strategy review would be carried out.

The result - no expansion for Felixstowe, but closure instead.

The charity says its money would be better spent elsewhere and identified the north-west, where it says there are more stray dogs and another 100 pets could be helped each year. No-one doubts that there is a need in that area.

What the campaigners firmly believe is that the Blue Cross should be expanding its activities to cover all areas of need - but it must not do so at the expense of places where there is already a great and proven need.

Felixstowe's centre - which covers a large part of this region - must be kept open.

Other charities would not be able to pick-up the Blue Cross workload and deal with the 400 animals it re-homes, the vital advice and veterinary help it gives, the care and love it pours onto the area's pets by its excellent staff and first-rate volunteer team.

Felixstowe's centre is definitely needed and so is expansion into other needy areas - the Blue Cross needs to find a way to do both.

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.

Here are more names of the thousands of people who have signed our petition:

Debbie Dutton, Margaret Brock & Cassie, Leonard Airey & Lyda Airey, Mr M Bradley, Marion Cutting, Mrs M A Crisp, Mrs E Thomas, A T E Wray, B Johnson, Mrs S Banham, Miss P Last, Anne Powell, Honor Bland, Mrs K Burgess, Mrs E White, E P King, Glenda & Paul Smith, Mr & Mrs Bailey, Mr C Pavlides, Mr M R Nightingale, Mrs M Nightingale, Mrs Angela Dye, Julie Sellek, Mary & John Bennett, Mrs Margaret Taylor, Mrs M Stebbings, Mr R Robinson, Marion Haggar, Ms P M Lubbock, Mr Nigel Boud, Mr & Mrs B R Boud, Mrs I Aldous & Mr J Aldous, R M Durrant, Mrs Elvera Bryant, Mrs D Reynolds, Mrs L Grayston, Mrs C Murton, Mrs Anne Canham, Mr D Nunn, Mrs E Nunn, Mrs M Thorpe, Marj, Sid & Graham Foulger, Mr N J Stockings, Linda Ripper, Heidi Smith, Mr L Barton, Margaret Roddis, Mrs G P Rowe, Mrs M A Allington, Mrs Alice Wright, Mrs J Walker, R W Beaver & C M Beaver, Urusula Whitesides, Daphne Whitesides, Mrs Joan Taylor, Mrs M J Dawes, Mrs S G Adams, Mrs E Theobald, Mrs E P Smith, Rosalind Waters, Mr R P Jones, Mrs Deirdre Lewis, Mr G Howe, Mrs Rosemary Hazelton, D H Nedd, Mrs T Treeve, W Mordecai, Mrs Geraldine Apps, Colin Jacobs & Ann Jacobs, Mrs Jean Lewis, Mr & Mrs R Braden, Mr & Mrs D Evans, Mr A Reynolds, Janet Smith, Mr & Mrs E Eke, J Biggs, Sophia & Karl Moles, Mo Gardner, Mr & Mrs G Clarke, Mr & Mrs Edwards, Mrs D Nichols, Pat Palmer, Mrs A Robinson, Mr & Mrs P Taylor, Mrs J Quinton, D Quinton, Mrs N J Smith, Ann Charles Baker, Robin Garwood, Val Cook, Miss B Colman, Mr & Mrs J A Mallett, Mr & Mrs Culpeck, Mrs L Levett, Mr Roy Buchmueller, Miss Venesta Barnard, Jeannette Ann Whiting, D Rush, Mrs Julie Pither, Ms Rachel Fisk, Doreen Davies, Mr & Mrs D W Hines, M J Halliday, Graham Southey, Mrs Sandie Starsmoore, Mrs J Woods, Mrs Tina Abbott, Mrs Juliette West, Mr & Mrs L Wenham, Mrs D Brown, Mr D Johnson, Mrs S Coughlan, Mr & Mrs Ransome, C Whiting, Kathryn Mitchell, Mr John R Brame, Mr David Pither, David Mutum, Mrs P M Nears, Mrs S Smith, Sandra Summers, Ron Summers, Paul Todd & Lucy Todd, Mr & Mrs Humphrey, Miss H Read, Mrs D A Rolando, Mr & Mrs Cage, Joan Whymark, Mrs Diane Mills, Sheila Avis, Mrs P Wiggins, Mrs S Dines, Jennifer Selmes, Julie Bradley, Pamela R White, Mrs C Underwood, Mrs L Franks & Family, The Grant Family, B Daniels, Christina Miller, J E & M J Noyes, Mr & Mrs Ray Veeley, Lix Fenn, Michael Fenn, Evelyn & Jack Thomson, Mrs Patricia Minter, Mrs B N Hood, Mr K M Langford, Mrs C E Langford, Katie Cowling, Mrs L Axford, Mr & Mrs P Feavearyear, Miss Jayne Chenery, Ann Jordan, Mr & Mrs R W Loftus, Mrs H Rayner, Mr & Mrs P C Gooding and Family, Ms Hayley Griffiths, Mrs R J Mortimer, Mrs D Jackson, Mrs J Hall, Sheila Pryke, Mrs Doris Berry & Miss Helene Berry, Mrs J Bird, Mrs C Rother, Mr & Mrs V J Hill, Mrs M J Cook, Paul & Cherry Hamilton, Mr A Betts, Ann & Ken Patient, Rosemary Banks, Mrs Dawn Wombwell, Mrs G J Hewitt, Pat Bonwick, Sarah Goldsmith, Michael Goldsmith, Mr G Gardner, Mr & Mrs D Knights, Mrs Valerie Masullo, Mrs D Davidson, David Christie, Mrs M Wood, Miss P Davidson, Mrs Parker, Freda Lacey, Miss G M Pilbeam, Mr K Brooks, Mrs Maria Ranson & Mr Ranson, Mr & Mrs C F Stevenson, Naomi Gravey, Mrs Ann Bugg, Mr Edward Warnes, Beverly Warnes, Mrs S Thorpe, Mr & Mrs R & S Southgate, Jenny Mowles & Staff, Charles Manning Amusement Park, R Nicholls, Mrs Karen Battle, Mrs Claire Lisa Spall, Mrs Jennifer Halsey, Mrs Valerie Brooks, Mrs P Sarfas, Mrs J Warne, Mr & Mrs Rumbold, Mr & Mrs R W Dunnett, Mrs Jane Brett, Mrs W Watson, Mrs Margaret Kersey, Angela Miller, Muriel D Miller, Miss Karen Fox, Mrs J Smith, Mrs J Goodhand, John T Goodhand, Mr D Kessler, Muriel Ponting-Barber.

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