St Tiggywinkles

One of the most fascinating obituaries I have read in a long while is in my paper today. It is of Les Stocker, an accountant who ran a fridge business but then turned to helping injured wild animals in his back garden shed. Which then expanded somewhat!

Thus St Tiggywinkles — named after a hedgehog in a Beatrix Potter story — was formed. No, St Tiggywinkles is not a joke. It is a full-blown teaching hospital — for vets — in the Buckinghamshire village of Haddenham. It has a diagnostic and triage section, state of the art operating theatre, X-ray unit, nurseries for juvenile birds, a pool for otter, seals, and water birds, and even a bat cave with ultra violet lights in order to attract insects into the cave while occupants are recovering!

Man is the earth’s No. 1 predator, by far the most ruthless of all the species, the cause of the demise of thousands of other species. But man also experienced some mutations in his brain genes way back in time and this also gave him an intense curiosity — and even a fondness — for and about many of our fellow species. We are at once the great slayer of wildlife but hopefully also a useful friend in due course, able to empathise with their suffering as well as our own.

One day, when our educational curricula are better balanced — particularly classical economics which assumes that we are nothing else but selfish — individuals such as Les Stocker won’t be as uncommon as they are today.

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