Last year I was given the honour of sounding the starting horn of the Cambridge half marathon, but I won’t be able to do that this year, because I’ll be somewhere in the line getting ready to run!
It’s an exciting prospect, and I’ve been enjoying my training, and like many of the other runners, I’m hoping to raise money for a cause I think is important.
For this marathon I’ve chosen to support Cambridge Hedgehogs, a local charity that was formed last year. I got to know the three directors of Cambridge Hedgehogs after the council launched its hedgehog awareness campaign last year, and I was impressed by their concern for the plight of these wonderful small mammals, and the help they offer to sick or injured hedgehogs.
They also support hedgehog mapping through The Big Hedgehog Map to help get a better idea of how many hedgehogs we actually have in Cambridge. Nationally the population has declined 97% since 1945, so it’s very important information to gather.
To help, they hold evening events with a thermal imaging camera so volunteers and residents can locate more hedgehogs and understand how they lived in our urban spaces. I went along to one, and learned a lot about hedgehogs, as well as having fun.
During the hot summer last year – when the top temperature in the UK was 38 degrees here in Cambridge – Cambridge Hedgehogs highlighted the ways to keep these mammals cool, fed and watered. Lots of great videos of action in Cambridge gardens.
Among the changes they’ve helped make in Cambridge is the idea of cutting doorways in fences so that hedgehogs can wander more freely. The council suggested this to home owners, developers, and the planning department. As result new approved house applications will require them when appropriate, Barrett’s agreed to provide them in all 1500 new homes at Darwin Green, and the city council will continue to provide them free to Cambridge residents!
We are also rewilding more areas in and around Cambridge, making better places for hedgehogs to live as well as many other small mammals, insects and amphibians. And humans too, of course.
I had my own experience of how caring they are when I came across a stumbling unwell hedgehog who could not make it across a country road. I picked it up and had lots of advice and support from them. Unfortunately, the little thing died after a few days of struggle. I was quite sad when she died. That little creature had a big impact on me, and it made me realise that I really want to help Cambridge Hedgehogs achieve their aim of a hedgehog hospital in our city.
I want to raise their profile, help spread their messages, help them financially to support hedgehogs and other creatures, and work with them until there is a hospital here in Cambridge.
So, I’ve dug out my running shoes, I’m out pushing myself to get fitter and train to enable me to enjoy the Cambridge Half marathon course.
Please help me help Cambridge Hedgehogs.