MEET THE TEAM

At Woodlands Animal Sanctuary our dedicated team are invaluable in rehabilitating and caring for our animals.

All of our team members are qualified in animal management or animal care and together dedicate over 500 hours a week to caring for our animals.

The Volunteers

We also have a large number of reliable volunteers helping us with animal care and fundraising. We absolutley would not be able to survive without our dedicated volunteers. If you would like to get involved please let us know.
Here are some of our long standing volunteers!

Jan Roe
Jan RoeVolunteer
My name is Jan Roe, l have worked at Woodlands volunteering since 2016. I suffer from M.E. and needed something to help me feel useful in life.

Working with the hedgehogs gives me so much pleasure and l feel like l'm part of a really worthy cause. Once you get behind the scenes at Woodlands you realise what an enormous task it is to manage.

The staff and other volunteers have made my life feel complete. It's a wonderful, big, happy family environment where everyone works together as a team. I love being a part of it!
Nicola Maguire
Nicola MaguireVolunteer
I have volunteered at Woodlands since October 2021, coming in on a Saturday morning to see to the cats is the highlight of my week! I also try to get in as much cat cuddling as possible on any days I have off work. Woodlands do incredible things for the animals in their care and being able to help them out is a dream come true for an animal lover like me, it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

I work in legal accountancy 9-5 so being able to get away to Woodlands for a few hours a week is the best.
Emma Warriner
Emma WarrinerVolunteer
I started volunteering at Woodlands in April 2021. I came across the sanctuary when looking to rescue another cat after loosing my dear Soph at the start of lockdown and saw they took on volunteers to help out. I reserved not one but two fur babies who have made my home complete again, no home is complete without the pitter patter of kitty feet.

At woodlands I work with both the cats and hedgehogs which I really enjoy, I had never had any interaction or been close to a hedgehog before and now I clean, feed & weigh them and love learning all about them.

I do also work full time as Airline Cabin Crew and have been lucky to travel to some really amazing places over the 17yrs I have been in this job. Being furloughed it really has been my pleasure to be able to help out & do something different & I will continue with my volunteering role here as I absolutely love it
Hayley
HayleyVolunteer
Hi I'm Hayley & I started volunteering at Woodlands just before lockdown began in 2020. It amazed me that even at such a difficult time, the staff & volunteers continued to do all they could to keep the sanctuary running so that animals could be rescued. I am so happy that I can now be a small part of that.

I love the time I spend at Woodlands & have met some wonderful people. I have always had pets & currently have two cats. Getting my fill of cats & kittens at Woodlands stops my little cat family at home getting out of hand!
Sue Walker - Russell
Sue Walker - RussellVolunteer
My name is Sue, I have been volunteering at Woodlands for approx 1 year, so still a relatively newby. I live in Southport with my husband and one of my two daughters, along with our fur baby Finley the dog. I worked as a civil servant for many years and in 2021 I took early retirement. The question was, what do I do now? I had often driven past Woodlands and thought, "I want to work there if I ever give up work, and help those amazing people support the animals in their care", I was over the moon when my application was accepted. I work on the yard and am in my element interacting with the ponies, Dolly the donkey, the goats and of course all the feathered friends around the pond. It's a mucky job, but gives me so much satisfaction that I am helping in a small way. The people I have met are all like minded and are passionate about the support we give to both the animals and each other. We are like one big family. I am so lucky and thankful that I can play my part at woodlands.
Jacky Houghton
Jacky HoughtonVolunteer
I’m a relative new girl to Woodlands having started in June 2021. I’m primarily a cat cuddler (salary nil, job satisfaction off the scale!) but have also had the pleasure of releasing some hedgehogs into their new habitat on behalf of the sanctuary. I’ve honed my limited baking skills since starting too to help raise money at fundraising events.

It’s so rewarding when a cat goes to its new home, particularly when the new owners share updates of its progress. Seeing cats which may have been timid relax into their new surroundings really makes us smile.
Debbie
DebbieVolunteer
I've been volunteering for just over two years now, started after I adopted my cat from Woodlands. I helped with fund raising and became a cat cuddler last September, which I love and I'm now doing homechecks as well.

I grew up surrounded by animals of all varieties and have always loved animals so getting involved with Woodlands was a no brainer, I love being part of the team as the work that Woodlands do is so special and it is a special place to be part of. I volunteer because I want to help animals all find a loving home and get the help and support they need to get there, if I can just play a small part in that it's worthwhile.
Fiona
FionaVolunteer
I am semi retired and also a carer for my elderly mum who is 93. I am married to Brian and we have a British Shorthair cat called Merlin who has made a huge difference to our lives.

I started volunteering at Woodlands in October 2021 as a cat cuddler on a Thursday afternoon. I absolutely love it and enjoy interacting with the cats and kittens who all have unique personalities. It's a lovely atmosphere and the people I have met are fantastic!

I look forward to helping with fundraising in the future.
Emily
EmilyVolunteer
My Name is Emily, I am 14-year-old, & have adhd and autism so I like routine and being around animals.

I started volunteering at Woodlands in April 2023. I volunteer on the yard and cat cuddle sometimes too, I have met some lovely people and enjoy being around the animals.

Woodlands is a great place to learn about animals and is a great way to spend my Sundays!

The Staff

Alex Fisher
Alex FisherOffice Coordinator
I have been at Woodlands since 2006, my role includes overseeing the care of all animals onsite and take charge of the majority of admin tasks.

I have a national diploma in animal care and NVQ level 1 and 2. I have a love of all animals and I own a German Shepherd called Alfie.
Sally McDerby
Sally McDerbyOffice Coordinator
I have been at Woodlands since 2011, I have overall charge of all equines and their training along with my duties of personal development management for the staff. I also oversee all public relations and some admin tasks such as the newsletter. I also live on site at Woodlands along with my husband and sister in law Vickie.

As a family we live and breathe Woodlands. My true love though is horses.

My qualifications are BHS II, Pony club accredited instructor and UKCC Level 2. I have my horse, cat and several dogs!
Grace
GraceAnimal Care
I started at Woodlands as a volunteer in 2014 helping with the hedgehogs that used to be on site. After finishing high school I was able volunteer a lot more of my time and gain experience with all the animals on site at Woodlands. I became a member of the animal care team in 2016 while studying Level 3 Animal Management at Myerscough College. I then left Woodlands in 2019 to study Zoology BSc (Hons) degree. After moving back home in 2022 I was lucky enough that Woodlands were in need of another animal carer and I was graciously welcomed back! I love working with all the animals here and have even rehomed a cat from Woodlands a little while ago now - though very shy, she now has a warm and loving home with me.
Mckenzie
MckenzieAnimal Care
My name is Mckenzie. I started at Woodlands as a cat cuddler in January 2023, I moved onto being a yard volunteer on a Sunday & in October 2023 the opportunity came for me to become a staff member. I took it with great joy, to become a part of the Woodlands staff team and now I do every other weekend looking after all the animals on site and I still volunteer the weekends I don't work. I enjoy learning about the animals and this will help me in my college course.
Louise Doyle
Louise DoyleAnimal Care/Community Champion
I started at Woodlands in 2015 as a volunteer on the stables side of the sanctuary. I completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Science in 2016 after completing my Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management.

I am currently studying towards a post graduate diploma in animal therapy, which will allow me to become an animal physiotherapist.

I have a passion for animals of all shapes and sizes, but I have a particular love of horses. I started riding when I was 6 and haven’t looked back since! Outside of work I have a Welsh pony called Deago and a staffie cross called Hugo.
Kirstie Sherman
Kirstie ShermanAnimal Carer
I started working at Woodlands in 2019 while studying Equine Management at college. I grew up with lots of different animals from gerbils to cows, but horses have always been my favourite! My experience here has broadened my knowledge of all aspects of animal care and is helping me towards my dream of working in the veterinary industry. At home I have two cats and two guinea pigs who are all Woodlands rescues.
Terry Parry
Terry ParryOffice Coordinator and Receptionist
Like all the staff at Woodlands, I have a history of loving animals. Beginning early with guinea pigs and rabbits, later dogs and cats, and presently chickens and bees.

After a 30 year career in nursing (the last 10 years spent nursing palliative patients and those with life limiting conditions) I felt the need for a change and applied for the receptionist post.
Donna Callaghan
Donna CallaghanOffice Coordinator and Receptionist
I'm Donna, I'm married and have a daughter. I was an early years teacher. I took early retirement 5 years ago from teaching Early Years, which I had done for 35 years and loved! I heard of the wonderful work Woodlands Animal Sanctuary does through my sister Terry. I love animals. I don't have any pets at the moment, as we recently lost our dog, at the great age of 13 and we have had a cat. I am really excited at this new opportunity of working and helping with this fantastic Charity.
Lynn Jefferson
Lynn JeffersonAnimal Care Manager
I started as a volunteer at Woodlands in April 2022 following retirement from a career in nursing and midwifery. The last twelve years of my career was as a team manager of two busy clinical areas and an integrated community team. These transferable caring and managerial skills combined with a love of animals and wildlife are what I bring to the role of animal care manager. I am responsible for managing a small team of animal carers and a large team of volunteers. Also being responsible for the day to day running of the sanctuary, the maintenance of supplies and ensuring high standards of care for all of the animals in our care.
Sharon Starrett
Sharon StarrettOffice Coordinator and Receptionist
I started my Woodlands volunteering 25 years ago & have such pride at being associated with this amazing family run charity. I started as a cat cuddler on a Sunday afternoon but now I have branched out to fundraising work such as bag packs & collections as well as completing home visits for potential fosterers.

Whilst I enjoy all aspects of my volunteer work, my favourite part is the cat cuddling as it is a lovely way of de-stressing after a full week at work! It is incredibly rewarding to see a change over the weeks from a very timid cat or kitten, to one that enjoys affection & is ready for it's forever home.

My Sunday afternoon job is simply the best time of my week!
Mathew Jordan
Mathew JordanMaintenance Man
I do the maintenance here at Woodlands and have done since November 2015

I have an NVQ at Level 2 in Building Maintenance which I gained whilst working here.

At home I have a dog called Otis who is a Jack Russell Terrier and I also keep tropical fish
Sophie BentleyPartnerships Manager
I joined the Woodlands family Dec 23, to bring my fundraising experience and help grow the vital funds we need to continue our great work. It was my love of animals which ultimately brought me to Woodlands, then meeting the team and their dedication, it was a deal breaker- I knew I wanted to come and be a part of it. Having worked in some incredible charities, I hope to bring all of my knowledge, enthusiasm and passion into this new journey. Making lots of new friends along the way.....although my husband has warned me NO MORE PETS! Mum to three girls, there is always something 'going on', I do my best to give them the best life and to make sure that they grow up to be decent, hardworking adults with compassion and respect. They are without doubt my greatest achievement.

The Trustees

Alison Speakman
Alison SpeakmanTrustee
I was appointed as a trustee in 2017, I am a veterinary surgeon with 27 years’ experience.

I have a PhD in feline infectious respiratory disease and my particular area of interest is feline internal medicine.

Alison Speakman BVMS Hons PhD MRCVS
Helen Wareham
Helen WarehamTrustee
I was asked to join the Board of Trustees in August 2022, having volunteered at Woodlands for a year. I am also a member of the Fundraising Committee at the sanctuary.

In my day job, I work as a Director of Modern Languages for a large Academy Trust. As the saying goes, ‘Never work with children or animals’, but I figured having spent 27 years working with the former, why not spend my spare time helping the latter! I’ve always loved animals, in particular cats, and my three feline girls are all rescues. Joining the team at Woodlands was the best decision I ever made as it is a truly wonderful place, which does amazing work with a whole range of animals, and it certainly keeps me busy.
Stuart Irons
Stuart IronsTrustee
I became a Trustee at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary in 2009, after having adopted three cats from the charity the previous year.

I am a Solicitor and assist the Charity with its legal issues.

I love all animals, but cats are my passion!
Lynne Saunders
Lynne SaundersTrustee
I became a Trustee for Woodlands Animal Sanctuary in 2011.

I have extensive experience of both the business and charity sectors from working for over twenty years in International Banking, followed by 17 years in Design.

In addition I spent four years working voluntarily as a Treasurer and Event Organiser for a local branch of the British Heart Foundation.
Caroline Simpson
Caroline SimpsonTrustee
I was appointed as a Trustee in February 2021, having been a volunteer at Woodlands for over 3 years.

I’m a Procurement Manager for a large manufacturing company with sites in the UK, Europe and Middle East. I’ve been with the company for 45 years, gaining a lot of experience in business and within the industry.

I started volunteering at Woodlands when I reduced my hours and working with animals for a couple of days a week really helps my work-life balance. I’ve always shared my home with cats and in 2019 I adopted two from Woodlands – Elvis and Charlie. They joined our resident cat, Horace, who had adopted us the previous year having spent about 12 months living rough. Elvis and Charlie are real lap cats whereas Horace is a streetwise, battle scarred hunter. Despite their differences they all get along together, most of the time.
Vickie Blackburn
Vickie BlackburnTrustee
I have been with Woodlands since the beginning! Before Woodlands was founded by my mother and myself we ran a branch of the Cats Protection.

I was born into animal care and have very clear recollections of cleaning out cat pens aged 4!

I live on site at Woodlands in the family home with my husband, brother and sister in law. The charity is a huge part of my family, we live and breathe it!
Steve Saunders
Steve SaundersTrustee
I am Jacqui McDerby's brother and was brought up with a wide variety of animals.

I became a trustee in 2011. I have close to 30 years business experience, culminating in Director positions, with blue chip International companies, followed by 12 years as an independent Business Consultant specialising in Supply Chain operations.
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Registered Charity: 1190858