STAFF at an animal rescue centre in north Wiltshire say they are facing closure this Christmas, unless people’s festive goodwill can help them get through the winter.

The CEO of Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre, near Cricklade, has made an appeal to generous animal lovers to help the charity raise £50,000 by February to help meet the costs of caring for nearly 300 sick animals.

The centre is receiving more animals in need of help daily and is expecting to reach its 5,000th patient by the end of the year - 1,000 more than last year’s total.

There are just eight permanent staff who work around the clock to nurse animals that have been wounded, back to full health.

But they are facing an unprecedented level of injured hedgehogs for this time of year and are also looking after dogs, cats, birds, foxes and other countryside animals.

Charles Pope, Oak and Furrows CEO, said: “We’ve had a very unusual season in so far as there has been a huge peak of hedgehogs coming in, totally out of season and it’s really thrown us into a bit of a quandary.

“As a result of that we’ve found it very difficult to make ends meet so we’ve launched an appeal to the general public to try and raise some funds to keep ourselves going.

“We’re managing, but only just through the stalwart nature of our staff who are absolutely brilliant.”

The total raised towards the £50,000 target currently stands at just over £10,000, meaning Oak and Furrows has just two months left to find another 80 per cent of the required funding.

“The fundraising has been running for a couple of weeks now, it’s doing reasonably well, but we’re still asking for the public to continue to support us”, continued Charles.

“We’ve had lots of supplies come in from various supporters in terms of food and bits and pieces that we need, that’s how we’ve coped.”

Charles said that animals in the rescue centre are managing with the recent snow fall as they have heating and staff are dedicated to nurturing them.

But there is plenty the public can do to help, either through monetary contributions or by donating blankets and pet food.

“Everybody here is absolutely devoted to this place, and it would be a great shame to see it have to close down”, added Charles.

“The threat of closure is quite real, we’ve got 20 per cent of the target reached, which is excellent, but we’ve still got a long way to go and we need that impetus and the public to help us achieve it”.

To help Oak and Furrows reach their target by February, go to their fundraising page at justgiving. com/campaigns/charity/ oakandfurrows/preventclosure or visit for more information about the work they do.