Petplan Awards Nomination

Pauline, our founder, has nominated Nicky our long-standing volunteer in the Petplan awards and she is now 1 of the final 3. Here is what Pauline said about Nicky:


Nicky Leeson first came to Holly Hedge in July 2010, just one month after the sudden loss of her beloved husband. She had brought in a cheque instead of people sending flowers to his funeral in his memory, and there was such a look of deep sadness in her kind eyes. She signed up for volunteer cat cuddling and dog walking and visited the Sanctuary several times a week devoting her time and giving so much care and enrichment to our rescues with an abundance of love and compassion in her heart of gold. She quietly helped so many of our rescues who were traumatised, lost their trust in humans, or just needing a reassuring cuddle. The first cat Nicky went in with was Feisty Flossie, who scratched her for being so nice, but this did not deter her. Nicky was a natural, and a great favourite with staff as well as our animals. She didn’t open up about the heartbreak of losing her husband until a year later when she told us how our rescues, in all her grief and despair gave her a focus and the will to carry on. Since then, she has become such an integral part of our Holly Hedge family and has progressed from cat cuddling and dog walking to home checking, working in the office writing thousands of letters, responding to Facebook messages and queries, doing cat posters and putting them on the website, giving talks promoting Holly Hedge and our animals, involved with all aspects of fund raising, contributing financially towards vet bills and so much more than words can say to extol her virtues. She has also written so many beautiful and heart-felt poems for our long termers and golden oldies, reaching people’s hearts and finding them loving homes. During Covid-19 Nicky continued to walk our rescued dogs adhering to social distancing guidelines and still carried out all the work she did behind the scenes. She has been a valued Trustee for 8 years and has been there for us and all our rescues throughout a roller coaster of highs and lows. Nicky came to Holly Hedge with overwhelming sadness in her heart, her life torn into shreds, yet still wanting to help animals in need, always going above and beyond. She reveals that our rescues were her lifeline, but Nicky was their lifeline too in so many ways. She is the most loyal, selfless friend to Holly Hedge and our precious rescues she cares so deeply for. Nicky is an unsung hero who transformed a tragedy into unwavering love and dedication to enrich animals lives and continues to do so with all her heart and soul, going above and beyond for those who have no voice. Helping our rescues to mend their broken hearts has helped to heal hers too. Nicky is one in a million and would go to the ends of the earth and back for Holly Hedge, yet never wanting thanks or recognition for the inordinate number of hours she volunteers. There is no one more hard working, caring or deserving of this award. Thank you.