On Tuesday 26th April 2016, Dr Brian May and Anne Brummer launched a joint campaign to save Britain's hedgehogs in Portcullis House, London. The campaign is called #AmazingGrace in honour of Grace a rescue hedgehog that came into Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue last autumn, underweight and suffering from 'fly-strike' in a deep wound to her neck.
Grace is a rescued hedgehog who inspired a ‘rock star’ to help save hedgehogs in Great Britain.
Queen legend, Dr Brian May said “The UK’s hedgehogs are in trouble. Our hedgehog population has dropped dramatically from 35 million to less than a million in the last forty years. We want to highlight the dangers faced by hedgehogs in Britain today and the threat of how they could be extinct by 2025 - that’s less than 10 years - unless we can help them."
“How shocking that hedgehogs are in danger of extinction in this country. We have destroyed most of the hogs' habitat by over development and ruined what’s left with poisons and restrictions on their movement."
Grace is the star of the new campaign. She came to Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue last autumn, underweight and suffering from ‘fly-strike’ in a large wound on her neck. She made a full recovery whilst in their care and now features in the video that highlights some of the hazards that hedgehogs face today in the UK. The launch event in London’s Portcullis House was attended by MP’s and celebrities including Oliver Colvile MP, who last year launched a petition on the government website to help save hedgehogs (you can sign the petition here). Shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy and Lib Dem Peer, Baroness Bonham Carter also joined in to support Grace and her friends.
Singer and actress Kerry Ellis joined Brian May to perform a stirring and emotional version of “Amazing Grace’; the traditional 18th-century hymn.
Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan and TV’s Marc the Vet along with Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dem, Green and SNP MP’s listened to Anne Brummer, founder of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue explain why our hedgehogs are in such a serious decline.
Fay Vass, CEO of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Henry Johnson from Hedgehog Street and Hugh Warwick, Ecologist and author of A Prickly Affair, who has been studying hedgehogs for more than 20 years were on hand with some expert advice.
Celebrity guests and MP’s enjoyed our special vegan ‘Hoggy’ cupcakes and were given a unique flyer full of hedgehog friendly tips and a 4 inch (25cm) square - the size of the hole required in your garden fence to allow Grace and her friends access through.
We need your help too - we are asking animal lovers to make videos or take selfies quoting one of the hedgehog facts on the website – www.gracethehedgehog.co.uk – and putting it on your social media using the hashtag #AmazingGrace. Then, ask your friends and family to share your post and make one themselves; if we all made some simple changes to our gardens it would help save hedgehogs.
Anne Brummer, chief executive of the Save Me Trust and founder of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue, said: “We have seen a worrying decline in hedgehogs at our rescue over recent years. We have to raise awareness of the challenges that Grace and her fellow hedgehogs face, there are simple changes that you can make to your garden to become “Grace friendly”.
“Wouldn't it be great if Surrey became the first 'hedgehog-friendly' county in England? Surrey's 'open spaces and gardens were once full of our 'spiky' friends but now they are rarely seen or heard. If we get Councils, landowners and the gardening public to make a few simple changes that dream could become a reality”.