Pauline Kidner, Secret World Wildlife Rescue and The Healing Weekend
The Healing Weekend that we know today owes its root and origin to the late healer, Bill Harrison who passed away in 2008. During the 1990's Bill, who hosted The Healing Weekend for many years at his home in Wedmore, Somerset, began to visit Secret World to help the animals there. Close bonds were created between charity founder Pauline Kidner, volunteers, the animals and Bill. Staff and Volunteers including Maria Fountain, Jan and John Vinnicombe began to bring the animals to Bills Healing Sanctuary, to the early days Healing Weekend and to help with Animal Healing Workshops
Following Bills passing, in honour of his life and work, Elaine and Ron, todays organisers, with the support of Pauline Kidner, her son Simon and the team at Secret World, The new Healing Weekend was created. This time, with the additional goal of helping raise vital funds for Secret World, and Pauline's vision to offer a 24hour rescue service to injured wildlife in the South West.
Pauline and Derek Kidner - Early Work Founding Secret World
Pauline and Derek Kidner opened New Road Farm (now Secret World) to visitors in 1984 and it was after seeing the way that the animals were being cared for that the public started to bring injured wildlife to the farm in the hope they could be cared for here. From here Pauline very soon developed a great love and interest for wildlife, and as her knowledge grew, so did her reputation for caring for these wild animals in need.
Secret World (or Bluebell Sett as it was then known) was founded in 1992 to support this wildlife work which has been recognised nationally by winning the BBC Animal Country Award in 1995 and seen in numerous TV programs. Its name honoured 'Bluebell', one of the first cubs reared by Pauline. Although she was released and free to go, Bluebell chose to stay at the farm where she raised two cubs of her own and adopted three others before her death in 1994.
Pauline Kidner was also nominated for the BBC Animal Awards in 2001 for 'contribution to animal welfare' award. She was one of the three runners-up but unfortunately was not successful in winning the award.
Bluebell Sett became a registered charity in 1995, but then after the success of the ‘Secret World’ television series on ITV, the charity was officially renamed as Secret World Wildlife Rescue in 2005, in a move that saw Bluebell Sett incorporated within the Secret World banner.
Secret World Wildlife Rescue up until 2017 was the only 24/7 wildlife rescue centre in the South West, annually caring for over 5,500 sick, injured and orphaned animals. This included the employment of trained animal carers (including a qualified Vet Nurse), and a commitment to provide medication, veterinary care, and time to recover as required. The work is supported by a 600 dedicated crew of volunteers who assist in a number of ways. Secret World still takes an active role by opening its doors to the public, visiting schools, providing wildlife rescue training, running development courses for veterinary professionals and by working with colleges and other training establishments.
The Healing Weekend 2018 - now supporting the Wildlife and Badger Care Organisation
Message from Pauline ...
Since 2017 Secret World has had to change from covering animal rescue 24/7 due to the many health and safety constraints and lone workers policy. It therefore now covers from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pauline remains the Charity Advisor and Founder for Secret World but concerned that animals may need help during the night, she has created a volunteer group who man telephones through the night and has a team of trained volunteers prepared to go out and collect casualties. Facilities have been created in the farmhouse at New Road Farm. This group is called Wildlife and Badger Care and runs purely on donations. Casualties accepted during the night are then passed on to Secret World for their rehabilitation. Although these are two different organisations, each are dependent on the other for this arrangement to work. The most important thing is that wildlife casualties have somewhere to go at any time of day or night.
The Healing Weekend is now focussing its support on this 24 hour provision of care through Wildlife and Badger Care and wish Pauline all the very best as it gets off the ground, and of course, to the continued wonderful work done at Secret World Wildlife Rescue.