Sussex

Sussex Bat Hospital founder Jenny Clark given honour

Jenny Clark with a bat Image copyright Hugh Clark
Image caption Jenny Clark has nursed many bats back to health but believes education is making a difference

A woman who has worked to fight off the bad press given to bats has been honoured for services to their conservation.

Jenny Clark, 70, of Forest Row, founded the Sussex Bat Hospital and has taken in injured and sick bats for 30 years.

But she believes her education work has had the most impact.

Mrs Clark, who has been appointed MBE, said bats had suffered from being seen as creatures of the night, but they were "amazing and charming".

After she took in her first injured bat in 1984, she was amazed by their gentleness, she said.

Her hospital grew and in the summer can have up to 50 bats at peak times.

But she said: "Education was where we were making a difference."

She said she had realised bats were in trouble and started working in bat conservation because she had desperately wanted to redress the balance.

"Bats had a bad press from ancient myths and legend connected with Halloween and Dracula. Any night animal, people don't understand. They are frightened of them," she said.

"But all the myths are not true and we need bats. We are now beginning to understand."

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Sussex police chief Giles York has been awarded the Queen's Police Medal

Screenwriter praised

Others to be recognised in the New Year's Honours list in Sussex include Sussex Police's Chief Constable Giles Tristan York, who has received the Queen's Police Medal.

Former director of policy and communications at the British Heart Foundation, Beatrice Helen McBride, has been made an MBE for services to cardiovascular healthcare.

In Cross in Hand in East Sussex, Carolyn Mary Randall, area manager for Crimestoppers, is appointed MBE for services to crime prevention.

And in Lewes, screenwriter and author William Benedict Nicholson has been made OBE for services to drama and literature.

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