A WILDLIFE rescue centre has hailed a “godsend” donation which was left by a generous supporter of the charity.

Joy Smith said when she died she wanted to leave a significant gift to Brantham-based WeCare Wildlife Rescue, having loved animals her whole life and wanting to have something for people to remember her by.

So when her sad passing happened, her daughter, Sue Starling, got in contact with the charity’s founder, Gill Lewis, to discuss what could make the greatest difference to the care which could be provided.

It was decided a large intensive care incubator would be an invaluable investment, and it was presented to Ms Lewis this week.

“This incubator is a godsend as we will be able to warm injured, shocked and hypothermic animals slowly and safely, keeping temperature and humidity constant,” said Ms Lewis.

“We can then care for the youngest of animals, for which keeping the temperature constant is crucial.

“Varying temperatures mean sick and baby animals have to use precious energy to keep warm, something they just don’t have enough of and often they sadly die. This unit will give them a greater chance of survival.”

The incubator is large enough to house small mammals such as rabbits, fox cubs and birds – including birds of prey.

It has even already been used in action. A tiny hoglet was given respite having needed urgent care for a chest infection, while a small white dove, affectionately named Boss, needed warming up before being treated for wounds and given fluids, pain relief and antibiotics.

Ms Lewis explained Boss spent a night in the incubator and next morning was “happy, very vocal and ate a huge breakfast”.

She added: “The humidity setting will be useful for birds and small animals.

“Hedgehogs often come in with chest infections, so being able to up the humidity and even add medication to the vapour helps them to breathe better.

“With this gift, WeCare will be able to help so many more animals and we are so grateful to Sue and her mother for such a kind, generous and thoughtful donation.

“Joy’s memory will live on through the lives of the animals her gift helps to save.”