Terminally ill woman dedicates life to hedgehogs

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HedgehogImage source, Sue Bonnington
Image caption,
Sue Bonnington runs a "hedgehog hospital" from her home in Leicestershire

A woman with terminal cancer has said she is going to dedicate the rest of her life to looking after hedgehogs.

Sue Bonnington, 58, runs a "hedgehog hospital" from her home in Glen Parva, Leicestershire.

The former cancer nurse was herself diagnosed with the illness while training to run the London Marathon in 2017.

She said the animals are in "serious danger" of extinction and caring for them makes her happy.

A "state of Britain's hedgehogs" report, published in 2018, revealed a 30% drop in the number of hedgehogs in urban areas since 2000.

Experts say the animals are struggling with lost habitats, increased competition and traffic.

Ms Bonnington became "fascinated" with hedgehogs when she started volunteering at the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in 2016.

Image caption,
Ms Bonnington was diagnosed with cancer while training for the London Marathon

After being diagnosed with cancer, she started helping them at her home.

Her patients are brought to her by members of the public and some even go directly to her for help.

"I have lots of poorly hedgehogs walk up from the back gate and collapse at my back door," she said.

In 2017 a tumour was discovered in Ms Bonnington's pelvis.

Since then it has spread to her liver and in May she was told her condition was terminal.

"I'm going to dedicate any time I have left to live to looking after these hedgehogs," she said.

"It makes me happy. When I get up in the morning I know I have to look after them."

Image source, Sue Bonnington
Image caption,
Ms Bonnington became "fascinated" with hedgehogs while volunteering in 2016

Ms Bonnington rescued more than 40 hedgehogs in 2019.

She hopes an online fundraising campaign and donations from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service will allow her to buy a large incubator to look after more of the animals and pay vet bills.

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