THE MANAGER of Bromsgrove’s Blue Cross is celebrating his ruby anniversary with the charity after notching up 40 years’ service.
Neil Edwards has been in his role since the centre in Catshill opened in 1986.
Before that, he was an ambulance driver for the Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria in central London and there he met his wife Avril, a veterinary nurse at the time.
The couple moved to Bromsgrove when Neil became manager of the rehoming centre – he has overseen the creation and development of the branch which now rehomes more than 600 abandoned and unwanted cats and dogs each year.
Under his leadership the pet care clinic – a partnership with the local Townsend veterinary practice – was also launched. That offers charitable treatment for pets whose owners are on certain benefits.
Neil said: “It is sad that the number of unwanted and abandoned animals continues to rise to such an extent, it is shocking. Despite many campaigns to encourage pet owners to get their animals neutered, we are still seeing more and more unwanted litters given up.”
Because of the sheer volume of pets needing help, the charity has started to try rehoming pets directly from their previous abodes to a new one.
Neil said the scheme was working very well – the charity has already helped rehome more cats than the staff thought it would and this could be the best year ever for finding abandoned cats loving homes.
More dogs are being taken in from council wardens who have nowhere else to take them.
Neil is also delighted his anniversary has come at an exciting time for the charity – work will begin on the centre’s revamp in the autumn, bringing much-needed new facilities.
“I am particularly proud of the pet care clinic and can’t wait to have a new veterinary suite when the centre is refurbished so that we can offer our clients a better service.” he said.
“I am continually amazed by the support Blue Cross receives in the area and how highly we are regarded.
“I feel privileged to be a part of that and to have seen this support grow in the 28 years the centre has been open.
“I’d like to thank all the people I’ve met and been helped and inspired by over the years.
“Blue Cross is a fantastic charity and I’m so proud of the way we help so many animals.
“Hopefully there are a few more years left in this old geezer to help many more pets.”
For more on the Blue Cross, or to make a donation, visit www.bluecross.org.uk or call 0300 777 1460.
Neil in the early days of the Bromsgrove centre. s
Neil with the Blue Cross’ chief executive Stephen Swift. s