We are proud and delighted to have welcomed The Duchess of Sussex on Her Royal Highness’s first visit as our Patron on Wednesday 16 January. The Duchess met with CEO Caroline Yates, our staff and volunteers; as well as members of the community we’ve helped and animals under our care to see first-hand the range and impact of the ground-breaking work we do in London and overseas.
Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Hammersmith and Fulham Mr Kevin McGrath joined Caroline Yates to greet The Duchess, who then led Her Royal Highness on a guided tour of our Home and some of our projects.
The Duchess was first introduced to one of our TheraPaws teams, Claire Godwin and collie mix breed Roobarb, and two elderly residents of the Lawnfield Care Home where they visit on a regular basis. Her Royal Highness heard first-hand how Roobarb’s visits to the care home provide companionship, promote emotional and physical wellbeing and benefit the lives of all residents –from inspiring happy memories of previously owned pets to encouraging new friendships and comforting those suffering from loneliness.
The Duchess then stopped to chat to Wully Struthers and his two dogs Azzy and Gallis, who we looked after as part of our Pet Refuge scheme when Wully was homeless and needed to access rehab. Speaking alongside Head of Animal Welfare, Zoe Edwards, Wully revealed how Mayhew has helped him and his dogs turn their lives around since he first met Zoe 11 years ago.
In our Cattery, The Duchess met two local people, Marion and Ted, who formed a life-changing friendship over the discovery of a feral cat colony. AJ Ford, Deputy Head of Animal Welfare, explained how we have worked to control the colony size through our Trap, Neuter, Return programme, and have worked with the community to educate them on living with this type of London wildlife.
Head Teacher of nearby school North Bridge House, Christine McLelland, who recently found a litter of kittens in her shed then joined the conversation. The Duchess met the kittens – named Leo, Percy, Sasha, Mia and Tiger-Lily by the children at North Bridge House – and heard how they are now being looked after by Mayhew until they are ready to find a new home, and how they have inspired the students to fundraise for Mayhew over coming months.
Caroline Yates then introduced The Duchess to one of our happily rehomed puppies – Maggie, previously known as Truffle. Maggie’s new owner recently adopted the Jack Russell from Mayhew, after our Animal Welfare Officers rescued her from a suspected puppy farm in October last year. She also met Foxy, a Pomeranian, who has just found a forever home.
Finally, HRH was introduced to Dr Abdul Jalil Mohammadzai DVM (known as Dr Mo) and Head Vet Nurse Gillian Rich RVN, who spoke to The Duchess about Mayhew‘s veterinary work here and in the countries we work in overseas.
Dr Mo explained how he and his team have implemented leading animal welfare initiatives within Afghanistan, overcoming an extremely challenging environment to control and prevent the spread of rabies and canine overpopulation. Gillian Rich informed The Duchess about the community-minded veterinary work we do here in London, in our Community Vet Clinic, including offering free and low cost vaccinations and treatment to animals and owners in need.
The Duchess finished her visit with cuddles from Minnie, a Jack Russell Terrier puppy who was ready for rehoming.
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