It is now 22 years to the day since the Three Owls founder Mrs Eileen Watkinson MBE passed away following a long illness. Right to the very end she battled away to ensure the survival of Three Owls and all the birds in its care.
The photo with this article shows Mrs Watkinson with one of our resident Tawny Owls; Guzzler - so named due to her appetite - who herself is buried on the Home Reserve alongside her 'mum'.
Taking a walk through the Home Reserve at Rochdale this morning, brought back many happy memories from years gone by; having been helping the charity since Easter 1978 I have seen many changes over the years, from the struggling charity existing on a literal shoe-string, to the hugely successful wild bird hospital it became by the Millenium, treating 1500-2000 birds annually and returning hundreds back to the wild every month. Ten years on from that, the sanctuary diversified and spread its wings further and was able to set up a network of nature reserves throughout the northwest of England, whilst continuing to support the day-to-day care of wild birds in distress.
Although Mrs Watkinson is no longer with us in person, she continues to be an inspiration in all that we do; and we often refer back to her tried and trusted methods when answering calls for help which now come in from all around the world. I count myself lucky and priviledged to have worked with her on a one-to-one basis from the day I started to when she passed away, and through all that knowledge shared over the years, we have been able to keep the Sanctuary running these 22 years further on to date and looking well into the future.
Our thoughts are with her always, and especially today.