ONE very wet day last spring, a small fawn was brought to a Somerset wildlife rescue centre.

She was given the name Bonnie and she had lost her mother.

Bonnie was cold and hungry - and might not have survived long but for the rescue centre.

Charlotte, one of the dedicated animal staff and volunteers worked with Bonnie hour after patient hour: initially tempting her with small dribbles of milk (different from her mother’s milk), then getting her to suckle from a syringe, then listening out for her peeping when it was time for another feed...

After several months of such loving and time-demanding care, Bonnie is now fit and healthy and has just been moved to a specialist release site - and she’ll soon be back in her natural habitat.

That is just one of the many, many success stories from the Secret World Wildlife Rescue (SWWR), in Highbridge.

And today, the centre has launched an appeal to help more animals, through the building of a new Wildlife Treatment Centre.

Plans for the new build were already in place at the start of 2020, but, like everyone else, SWWR has been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity’s staff were fortunately classed as essential workers, and all through lockdown cared for hundreds of wild animals from the small to the not-so-small, like Bonnie.

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But, fundraising events that it was hoped would raise more than £100,000 had to be cancelled, leaving a shortfall in the money desperately needed not just for the new build, but also to run the centre itself.

And the appeal is urgent because work needs to start in just a few weeks’ time, so that the Treatment Centre will be ready next summer for SWWR’s ongoing work of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife.

“Our staff have been amazing,” said Pauline Kidner, the charity's founder.

“We have realised that we have rescued more than 100,000 wildlife casualties since we started in 1992.

"We have been working in Portacabins for the last four years, for which we only have planning permission until the end of the year.

"It is therefore paramount that the building begins in November, and we need urgently to raise the funds to allow that to happen.”

Everyone who donates to this appeal will have their name on a special collage, she said.

“Whether you gave £2 or £10 or £1,000 it will go on there, because we know that the £2 is just as important as the larger amounts of money.”

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TV presenter and SWWR patron, Michaela Strachan, is backing the appeal.

"A new wildlife treatment centre will completely transform Secret World and enable the charity to look after more animals in a more efficient, practical way," she said.

"We completely support this appeal as we know it will make a real difference.

"Please do whatever you can to help."

For more about the appeal, visit, or call 01278 768707. You can also email