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.

Animal Care Team

Abi Bancroft
Abi BancroftAnimal Care
I have worked at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary since April 2018. I have a level 2 land based animal care diploma which I completed at Woodlands, and I have been here ever since! I have a love for all animals, especially cats and small furries. At Woodlands, I am usually found in the cattery, but I can also be found on the stable yard mucking out!

At home, I have a 2 and a half year old long haired Syrian hamster called Loaf. He was known for being an escape artist at the pet store he came from, as he managed to escape and eat through over £200 worth of supplies! I love him none the less (even if he is the cheekiest monkey ever!).
Kirstie Sherman
Kirstie ShermanAnimal Care
I started working at Woodlands in April of 2019 alongside studying for a level 3 in equine management at Myerscough College. I have always loved horses and started riding when I was 7. I have a cat at home called Rose who we rescued as a stray.

I grew up working with farm animals and bringing in sick or injured animals so Woodlands has been the ideal opportunity for me to develop my skills and experiences. I find it very rewarding and I'm excited to learn more!
Izzy Lewis
Izzy LewisAnimal Care
I started working at Woodlands in September of 2019 as an apprentice studying level 2 Animal Care and Welfare and aim to go onto studying veterinary nursing in the future.

I have loved animals ever since I was a toddler and have always dreamed of working with them!

Alongside caring for the animals at the sanctuary and studying for my course, I have a ginger cat called Hugo at home that I absolutely adore!
Rachel Williams
Rachel WilliamsAnimal Care
I graduated in 2019 with a First Class in BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Myerscough College.

I have a passion for working with animals in need and hope to improve and develop my animal skills while at Woodlands. During working at Woodlands, I have rehomed a beautiful black cat Izzy!

My job role is to help with the daily routine and do night checks for the animals during the week. I specialize with the Shelter cats but have lots of knowledge of Hedgehogs!
Emily Hilton
Emily HiltonAnimal Care
I started at woodlands in May 2019 as a level 2 apprentice for which I am currently studying for at the Sanctuary.

My life outside of work usually consists of caring for our 3 horses, chickens, numerous dogs (including a troublesome little Labrador puppy called Arya) and occasional farm cat as well as competing on my horse Brenin when I can.

Balancing such a fun-packed job and home life is difficult and extremely hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working with animals and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!
Leah Cain
Leah CainAnimal Care
I’m starting as a level 2 apprentice at the sanctuary hoping to give as much care as I can to all the animals I come across and progressing it into a future career.

My passion for animals is beyond, I adore them and I love to make sure they’re happy and healthy. I used to work on a farm which includes 10 horses that I cared for and many other farm animals. I also worked at a doggy daycare and well exercised all the dogs, fed and watered them.
Louise Doyle
Louise DoyleAnimal Care
I started at Woodlands in 2015 as a volunteer on the stables side of the sanctuary. I have recently completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Science 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 labrador x old English sheepdog called Jasper.
Heather Ward
Heather WardAnimal Care
I started working for Woodlands late 2018, spending most of my time on the stables part of the sanctuary. I completed my FdSc (foundation) Animal Welfare degree at Myerscough in 2017, helping to fulfil my dream of working with animals.

I have spent many years volunteering for Riding for the Disabled, helping out from only 9 years of age! Here I worked closely with both horse and rider to ensure that not only was the ride safe but also fun! Though I love all animals I have a special place in my heart for horses and rabbits, I currently own four rabbits and two geckos whom I absolutely adore.

Working at Woodlands has helped to improve the skills and knowledge that I have gained throughout my life and I'm excited to continue improving!!
Lucy Carver
Lucy CarverAnimal Care
Working at Woodlands has helped to improve the skills and knowledge that I have gained throughout my life and I'm excited to continue improving!!

I started at Woodlands as a volunteer in January 2018 and am currently working towards my GCSEs. My goal is to study Veterinary Science at university. Growing up I have always loved animals, especially my 2 cats Dora and Dexter.

I enjoy working on all aspects of the sanctuary and recently discovered my love for equines and goats! Woodlands has been the ideal place for me to develop my skills in animal care and I am looking forward to learning even more.

Office and Reception 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!
Amanda Killingbeck
Amanda KillingbeckAccounts
I have worked at Woodlands since 2009. I started as a volunteer but soon became an apprentice and achieved my NVQ level 2 and level 3 in Animal Care.

My role at Woodlands is Animal Sanctuary is maintaining, processing and keeping up to date with the charity accounts.

I also occasionally foster animals that need a bit of extra TLC from young hedgehogs that require feeds through the night to poorly or very young kittens!
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.
Sharon Starrett
Sharon StarrettVolunteer
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!

Maintenance Staff

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

The Trustees

Mark Sowerby
Mark SowerbyTrustee
I first volunteered back in 2009 helping paint the cat shelter and to support the open days. Once I left full-time employment, to become self-employed, I was able to commit to volunteering twice a week and became a Trustee in February 2020.

After our tabby cat, Ruben, passed away in 2015 a stray came into Wooldands. William was so timid I spent extra time with him and eventually he would watch me at the pen door as I left. I think he chose me and to this day he's my shadow at home.

It is like an extended family at the sanctuary, it means an awful lot to me in many ways. It's a place where you see dedication, to save and nurture every little life, in a world that is often lacking compassion. Dedication by the staff, trustees and volunteers is clear to see and it's wonderful to be a part of the team.
Alison Speakman
Alison SpeakmanTrustee
I was appointed as a trustee in 2017, I am a veterinary surgeon with 27 years’ experience and currently work at Vets4Pets in Preston Capitol Centre.

I am responsible for the care of cats and hedgehogs at the sanctuary whilst my equine colleagues care for the equine/farm animals. 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
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!
Lynn Saunders
Lynn 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.
Vickie Maude
Vickie MaudeTrustee
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.

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!
Phil
PhilVolunteer
I own my design business, PJG Creative and it seemed natural for me to combine my love of animals and design. I create promotional materials for Woodlands and also volunteer as a cat cuddler.

I’ve never volunteered before, but we got our first two cats Pip and Tig from the sanctuary when it first started, so it seemed obvious to give them my time. I get great satisfaction knowing that by volunteering I am helping a cat or kitten that has fallen on hard times find their forever home.
Sue Ashcroft
Sue AshcroftVolunteer
I began to volunteer at Woodlands in September 2012. After a few months I fell into the role of helping the staff to keep the shelter clean and tidy. I have empathy for all the animals who come to us for one reason or another, and it gives me pleasure to help the staff and other volunteers to give as much as we can.
Caroline Simpson
Caroline SimpsonVolunteer
I started volunteering at Woodlands in August 2017 when I had reduced the hours of my job down to 3 days a week. I was soon looking for something to do on Mondays and Fridays and as I’d always loved animals, decided it would be great to be able to work with them.

I really enjoy being involved with this Charity and having the chance to work directly with the animals. All the staff and volunteers are very friendly, helpful and are dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of all the animals. My work at the sanctuary is split between the hedgehogs and the cats & kittens. Hedgehogs have worked their way into my heart and its so rewarding when they are able to be released back into the wild.

Last year I adopted Elvis and Charlie (pictured). They had been at Woodlands for some time and I was so pleased to be able to give them their forever home. They soon settled in, with existing resident cat Horace, and are enjoying their new life being spoilt and pampered.
Jenny
JennyVolunteer
I’ve volunteered at Woodlands for just over a year and have loved every minute of it. During lockdown the sanctuary has been the highlight of my week and I think I’ve got as much out of cat cuddling as the cats! I would urge anyone to volunteer.

The animals only ask for food, a warm bed and cuddle or a kind word to make them happy and that’s so easy to give. I’d warn you that there are some cats that steal your heart, but knowing you have helped them find their families is an amazing feeling!
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!
Heide Crisp
Heide CrispVolunteer
I have volunteered at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary since 2008 after I retired in 2007. At the time, I owned 5 cats and enjoyed the aspect of caring, so I exchanged my skills from caring for people to caring for animals.

The first day of volunteering was particularly hard, as I couldn't believe how many animals were unwanted, but I am very impressed with the care and attention each animals receives before being rehomed or to live their lives at the sanctuary.

I have also seen the facilities for rehabilitating hedgehogs grow, from accommodating one hedgehog to one hundred and twenty!

Overall, I feel that we are a close community with teamwork playing an important role. I enjoy working at Woodlands looking after the cats and hedgehogs. I have made many new friends and enjoy all the social events and fundraising.
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.
Neil Wright
Neil WrightVolunteer
Hi, my name is Neil, I started volunteering at Woodlands in December 2019. My normal day job is as an Analytical Chemist, I work for a firm that makes printing inks.

My volunteering journey started in 2017, I took a career break doing voluntary work in Nepal, Namibia, Romania, and Zimbabwe. I had an amazing time and met lots of wonderful people and animals, one of the best things was to see wild animals released back into the wild after being cared for at the sanctuaries. The picture is me on top of Big Daddy dune in Namibia, so I admit it wasn’t all work!

At Woodlands, I work with the cats mainly cleaning up their enclosures, but sometimes simply spending time with them as it can be distressing to be removed from a home and family that can no longer look after them. It is very rewarding to see cats go from being scared or angry to being able to rehome them with a new, forever, family.

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Registered Charity: 1108626