M6toll swoop in with donation to help build owl aviaries

M6toll kindly donate £1,000 to help build owl aviaries at Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre in Eccleshall.

Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre is a small sanctuary for exotic animals and birds of prey. It all started out when the late Rob Smith, an ex-gamekeeper and keen wildlife enthusiast, helped a friend’s injured owl to recovery and returned it to the wild. From that day Rob decided he would like to help birds of prey on a larger scale, thus Gentleshaw Birds of Prey Hospital was born in 1987.

Taking in not only injured birds but also unwanted birds and exotic animals, a bigger facility was needed which led to Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre being opened in 1993. The sanctuary is now under management of Rob’s eldest daughter, qualified zoo keeper and devotee to the well-being of animals in her care, Jenny Morgan. 

The Centre needs to build specialist aviaries to help care for the increasing numbers of rescued captive bred owls and wild injured owls. To assist with this cost Midland Expressway Limited (MEL), operators of the M6toll, have made a generous donation continuing their support for local community projects.

Paul Parry, MEL Social Committee Member said: “The dedication of the staff and care and attention lavished on the animals is obvious, I can see that our donation will be a great help to expand their aviary. I was also thrilled to see not just birds of prey, but racoons, lemurs and reptiles. The level of care that the Gentleshaw team provide is second to none. I look forward to returning back to see how the aviary is coming along, and also to see Basil and Sybil the two Meerkats again!”

Jenny Morgan, Manager of Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre said: “The aviaries will provide safe, forever homes to unwanted or mistreated captive bred owls which have been rescued by our charity. Along with these aviaries, the very kind donation will also help us to renovate some of our specialist aviaries which are designed to house wild injured owls whilst they recover. These wild owls are then returned to the British countryside. Gentleshaw has been caring for owls and other birds of prey for 22 years. This kind donation means a lot to all of the volunteers at our little charity.”

This donation forms part of a wider initiative to support local schools and community projects.

MEL's Social Committee will be working closely with members of staff to choose those community projects close to their hearts which will benefit from a donation from the £20,000 Drive for Charity fund.

MEL's Social Committee is always on the lookout for local charities and community projects to support. To register your charity or community project with MEL for consideration to receive fundraising or practical (volunteering) support now or in the future visit www.m6toll.co.uk for further information or telephone 0870 850 6222.


IMAGE (pictured from left to right): Holly Davies; Gentleshaw volunteer with Treacle, Paul Parry; MEL Social Committee Member and Katie Smith; Gentleshaw volunteer with Barley