Hidden on a regular residential street in Meltham is an unassuming place where animal lovers from miles around know to bring injured wildlife.
In the 20 years that Meltham Wildlife Rescue (MWR) has been treating wounded creatures, it has rarely publicised its work.
Yet the centre has established a widespread word-of-mouth reputation and is never short of sick and injured animals to treat.
MWR, which treats everything from hares and hedgehogs to kestrels and dormice, began as a hobby for Kathy Heaney and her late mother Margaret Mail.
In between caring for her mother Kathy began to populate a small plot of land at the back of her house with sheds and enclosures to care for an increasing influx of creatures, many of whom were at death’s door.
Word of Kathy’s services spread and local vets began to refer concerned people arriving at their surgeries with injured animals to the centre.
Kathy said: “We’ve always had a passion for animals.
“My mum was a great animal lover and we’d do it together. Even though she had Alzheimer’s it helped her.
“Our family has always been known as animal lovers and we’ve always taken them in.
“I think it really started when my daughter brought in a pigeon and asked to help it.”
The centre, which began with a pigeon loft, now has sheds and cages for birds, hutches for rabbits and small mammals, a ‘mire’ and a pond for waterfowl and a ‘hog hut’ for hedgehogs.
There’s also an ‘intensive care unit’ equipped with incubators for seriously ill creatures.
MWR is now a full-time ‘job’, even though Kathy doesn’t make a penny from it.
Indeed, she pays for all the equipment, medicine and fuel used to take the animals to vets and animal rescue centres around Yorkshire and the North West.
And apart from Kathy and her daughter Natalie, all labour comes from volunteers.
Kathy said: “We start at 7am and work can end at 2am.”
Natalie added: “People can ring at 11pm with animals and we have vets calling us; that’s where the majority of the animals come from.”
Emotionally it can be draining as well; this summer a beautiful hare died following a short spell in the centre.
Kathy said: “It can be upsetting and it used to be hard – but the time we get hardened is the time we give up.”
Her good deeds haven’t gone unrecognised and Kathy won a Pride of Meltham award earlier this year.
But the number of animals arriving at the centre has increased so MWR has started a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Meltham-Wildlife-Rescue) to appeal for help.
MWR hopes to become a registered charity to secure more regular funding and keep the centre running for generations.
Natalie said: “Last summer it was the hardest, that’s why we started publicising it.”
Kathy said: “Some say you have to let nature take its course but a lot of the damage is done by humans with cars and strimmers; that’s not nature.
“We should put right what we’ve done wrong.”