A PAIR of hedgehogs were given a new lease of life when they were released back into the wild at the home of one of the nation’s favourite poets, Pam Ayres, this month.

Kind-hearted Pam allowed Somerford Keynes based charity Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre (OAF) to release the hedgehogs in the large grounds of her Cirencester home earlier this month.

The prickly animals had been rescued by OAF over the winter after falling ill and were released in an area specially made by Pam, with items they could make a home, such as wood chippings and tree prunings.

Pam, a massive animal lover who has supported OAF for several years, is set to release many more hedgehogs cared for by the charity at her home in the future.

Last month, Pam became a patron of the charity to help boost its profile.

In particular the charity hopes she will help it in its drive to raise £220,000 to create a new purpose-built base near Cricklade.

The new charity base will be at a Blake Hill Farm, a former Second World War air base which has been converted into a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

Facilities such as storage sheds, aviaries and pens will replace the current facilities at Oak and Furrows which are badly worn out .

The decision to build the centre was made to ensure that it can provide better care for the thousands of animals that it cares for each year such as birds, swans and deer.

As part of the plans a visitor’s information centre and wildlife hospital will also be constructed.

To get involved with the fundraising contact Ray Hood on 01666 860789.