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Spike in help for Wigan hedgehogs

Hope College students with one of their hedgehog homes
Hope College students with one of their hedgehog homes

Hedgehogs have pricked the consciences of wildlife lovers across Wigan.

Villagers in Aspull have established a new rescue group, dedicated to preserving the spiky mammals.

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And students at Hope College have weighed in by providing the borough’s arrays with purpose-built homes.

The fledgling Aspull Hedgehog Allies was established after villager Tamsin Crothers rescued three creatures she found struggling.

Knowing they are nocturnal animals, she took the trio to Chorley Hedgehog Rescue, for closer attention.

And from there Tamsin became more involved, starting out by cleaning their cages and eventually fostering a couple over the winter.

She has now enlisted the support of two friends, Emily Powell and Nicole Tayler-Price, to form a steering committee for Aspull.

Tamsin said: “They don’t ask for much, they help gardeners by controlling insect and slug and snail numbers.

“They are not aggressive or territorial and they just want to get on with their lives.”

Their contributions to date have led to the Chorley group naming Aspull as one of their release sites.

Already the allies have set up their own Facebook page and there are plans for meetings at the One House Community Centre throughout the summer.

The centre is becoming a drop-off point for the likes of old newspapers, towels, pillow cases and dressing gowns, which can be used for bedding, and wet or dry cat food, which hedgehogs will eat. Bread and milk is not advised as it can make them ill.

Hedgehog houses, built by the local Men’s Shed social group, will also be put up for sale, so villagers can offer safe nesting sites.

Meanwhile Hope College students have been busy constructing eight tiny residences for the shy and retiring garden dwellers, which are being donated to Lowton Hedgehog Rescue.

Working with the Canal and Rivers Trust on their Desmond Family Canoe Trail, the task was a test of their woodworking talents

Emma Sanford, a Hope tutor, said: “They learnt a lot about hedgehogs and can’t wait to hear back from the rescue about who moves into the homes.”

Vicki Birch, project leader for the canoe trail, added: “This initiative is part of the trust’s efforts to support wildlife that lives in and near our waterways, and supports the canoe project’s aim of helping young people learn and make friends whilst getting involved with their local community.”

Irene Thomson, of Lowton Hedgehog Rescue, said: “It’s wonderful to see youngsters so passionate about caring for wildlife and we’re really grateful to the students for making these hedgehog homes. Spring is a busy time as hedgehogs are active again after coming out of hibernation.”