Young hedgehog heroes earn praise from PM - The Stratford Observer
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18th Aug, 2022

Young hedgehog heroes earn praise from PM

PRIME minister Boris Johnson found a non Brexit moment to praise young hedgehog rescuers from Stratford.

Sophie Smith and Kyra Barboutis have received a ‘Points of Light’ award for their work rescuing and rehabilitating poorly and injured hedgehogs. The award recognises volunteers making a change and inspiring others in their community.

The 13-year-olds are the 1,274th and 1,275th volunteers to be selected for the award which is received every day by someone in the country whose efforts have been recognised.

In personal letter to Sophie the PM wrote: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are rescuing hedgehogs and protecting this wonderful woodland creature through your conservation work.”

And to Kyra he wrote: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, allow me to offer my own recognition of your heroic efforts to save hundreds of hedgehogs and educate others about the importance of hedgehog conservation.”

The pair were delighted to receive the recognition for their work.

They said: “It just proves that anyone can make an impact if they just care and work hard. Hopefully more children after seeing this will also stand up and make a difference for our wildlife.”

Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi recently met the duo to hear about their work.

He said: “I am delighted for Sophie and Kyra, both of whom are very deserving of this award. I was extremely pleased to meet with them last week and hear about their good work to protect hedgehogs in my constituency. We need more people like Sophie and Kyra!”

* The duo were also recently named ‘Young Animal Hero of the Year’ at a star-studded event hosted by wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall.

Not only did they get the chance to mingle with stars including Paul O’Grady, Ross Kemp and Richard Hammond, the girls received a video message from Simon Cowell.

The talent show guru said: “If everyone was like you and had your compassion for animals the world would be a better place’ and told them to call on him if they needed help”.

The pair said: “We had the most amazing time at the animal hero awards. We met some incredible people and animals proving here in the UK we really have people that are willing to stand up, work hard and make a difference. It was inspiring and sometimes heart breaking to watch some of the stories.

“Everyone was just so open and friendly we have come away with even more determination to keep pushing and making changes for our wildlife.”

As well as caring some 500 hedgehogs over the last four years, the duo visits schools and youth groups to raise awareness of the plight of hedgehogs, whose numbers have fallen from 30million in 1950 to 1.5million.

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