Wildlife charity gets a boost for Christmas

A Portsmouth teenager, who has devoted hours of her time to wildlife, has won a Christmas card competition run by a Southern Co-op funeral home.

Southern Co-op said was “overwhelmed” by the number of entries to its competition to design the corporate Christmas card to be sent to colleagues and partners, and it was finally agreed that Nicole Pook’s design would be the winner.

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The teenager has been awarded a hamper of Christmas goodies, copies of her Christmas card and a £1,000 donation in her name made to Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital.

Ann Pook, Nicole’s mum, said: “I am so proud of her. She couldn’t believe it when she won. She kept saying ‘I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it’. She entered it because she loves art and wanted to win the money for the animals at Brent Lodge. When she leaves school she would like to work with animals.

“She used to volunteer at Staunton Country Park as a Junior Ranger and about four months ago she started volunteering at Brent Lodge. So she and her friend go there every Saturday for about four hours. They both absolutely love cleaning out the hedgehogs and pigeons and looking after them. She has to pick the hedgehogs up and weigh them.”

Four runners up also received a £100 donation for their associated charities – Abigail Denyer, age seven on behalf of St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Amber Marie, on behalf of Augusta Park Community Association, Karen Cox, on behalf of HART Wildlife Rescue, and Kirk Hilton, on behalf of Canine Partners.

Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital is the current charity partner of Southern Co-op’s funeral home in Chichester. Its community engagement programme ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’, addresses four key social themes, promoting ‘Greener’, ‘Healthier’, ‘Safer’, and ‘More Inclusive’ neighbourhoods.

Asha Park, supporter communications manager from Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital, said: “We were totally thrilled to have one of our volunteers be selected as the winner of Southern Co-op’s Christmas Card Competition. With nearly 200 hedgehogs in our care plus other sick or injured wildlife the funds will make a huge difference to our organisation, and I know that Nicole is very happy about it and glad the money will help the animals at Brent Lodge.

“Nicole volunteers with us every Saturday for about four hours with her friend and they have been coming for about three months. She really enjoys looking after the hedgehogs, pigeons and other animals in need. They are both extremely passionate about caring for wildlife and are a great help to the rest of the team.”

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