The snuffling of hedgehogs in the hedgerows at dusk used to be a familiar sound in British gardens and countryside but sadly with much of their natural habitat disappearing and securely enclosed gardens making it harder for them to pass from place to place, these prickly balls of sweetness are becoming a rare thing to see, but drinks producer, Belvoir Fruit Farms has launched a campaign to try to stop their decline.
Working in conjunction with Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital, Belvoir is urging its consumers to do what many might have done as children and collect bottle tops. With a nod to the classic Blue Peter milk bottle top campaigns, Belvoir is promising to donate £1 to Tiggywinkles for every one of their bottle tops they receive – hoping ultimately to raise £5,000 for the animal charity that treats thousands of injured wild animals, including hedgehogs, every year.
While they can’t promise the Blue Peter Thermometer to update on progress, there is a weekly tops total on the Belvoir website, www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk. The tops from Belvoir’s range of 16 Cordials and 17 Pressés are valid and all you have to do is send your caps to Belvoir Fruit Farms* to play your part in helping to protect this quintessential British mammal through the work of the hospital that cares for them.
Every year in Britain, over five million wild animals are injured from their encounters with the human world. Tiggywinkles has been treating and saving them since 1978 with a specialist hospital to treat and rehabilitate as many as possible. Those that cannot be released back into the wild are given a home in the Tiggywinkles Visitor Centre gardens.
For a company that has largely built its reputation on its original elderflower cordial, for Belvoir the hedgerow is a major contributor to its success. However, since the Second World War, the UK’s ancient hedgerows have dramatically declined due to removal to increase field size and to make way for development. There are currently only about 450,000km of hedgerow left.
This widespread loss of the traditional hedgerows is believed to be part of the reason behind the decline of the hedgehog, who as the name suggests would choose to live in the hedgerow. In a recent survey, there are thought to be less than 1 million hedgehogs living in this country today, an estimated 30 per cent drop since 2013. However, the loss of bushes and hedges in back gardens is also thought to have played a role in the mammal’s demise with the popularity of hard wooden or metal fences making it harder for hedgehogs to move from place to place. As they become isolated in smaller and smaller areas of greenery they cannot feed or mate.
Those of us lucky enough to have a garden can perhaps review the way we mark our boundaries and leave hedgehog highways to allow more freedom of movement but with Belvoir’s campaign everyone can play a part, irrespective of owning a garden or not. One cap is £1 towards that £5k total and as Belvoir’s drinks are so delicious it’s no real hardship!
All Belvoir’s drinks are hand made using only the finest natural ingredients; just lashings of real pressed fruit juices, flowers and spices and no preservatives, flavours, artificial colours or sweeteners in sight. Belvoir’s drinks are available to buy from most leading supermarkets, farm shops, delicatessens and independent stores, or from their website, www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk.
Tim Moran, Operations Manager at Tiggywinkles said: “We at Tiggywinkles are absolutely thrilled to have the support of Belvoir in our quest to save the Hedgehog. With over 3000 of these prickly mammals coming through our doors each year, the £5,000 target would be a huge boost to our life-saving work. We encourage all our supporters to go out and buy a bottle or two of Belvoir Cordial. Not only are they delicious, but by sending a bottle top, you will be helping save the lives of the sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs.”
For further information on the work of Tiggywinkles visit www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk