Bromsgrove Blue Cross manager Neil retires after 48 years in the role. - The Redditch Standard

Bromsgrove Blue Cross manager Neil retires after 48 years in the role.

Redditch Editorial 30th Jun, 2024   0

AN ANIMAL welfare charity are taking the time to honour the dedicated work of its longest serving employee who is set to retire after 50 years in his role.

Neil Edwards, a Blue Cross centre manager in Bromsgrove, began working for the charity in May 1974 after four years volunteering at the UKs first animal hospital in Victoria, London.

He began his work as a hospital porter before overseeing emergency overnight cases and later moving onto animal paramedics with Blue Cross’ ambulance service. He later transitioned to a travelling relief manager, covering shifts around the country.

Neil then met his wife, Avril, when working at Merton animal hospital. Later, they were offered an opportunity to set up an adoption centre in Bromsgrove. The situation locally was dire, pets in the local authority were being put to sleep for want of a home.

Neil used his tenacity and resourcefulness to transform the site from old run down kennels into a six acre multi-million pound rehoming centre with 18 staff and approximately 150 volunteers.




The couple have lived in a small home on the site since 1986, where their two children also grew up.

A spokesperson for Blue Cross said: “He is everything we would want in a manager, wisely representing the charity in a region working tirelessly for the cause.”


He has also been brilliant in engaging the community in the charity’s work by helping to raise money and awareness.

Neil started the Bromsgrove fete in 1988, which attracted over three thousand visitors and raised over £8,000 a year. He regularly hosted barn dances, talks, charity anniversary celebrations and Christmas and Easter events.

“His community work goes beyond the work expected of a centre manager, to Neil the job is more than the job description and his role at Blue Cross, it is a vocation, a commitment to a cause and his duty as a citizen,” a spokesperson for Blue Cross added.

Neil also helped innovate new ways for the charity to rehome pets by leading a team to modernise the process.

The group developed a new type of community hub which uses home to home and foster rehoming to match people and pets without the need for kennels. These facilities were recorded as reducing costs by 50 per cent.

Over Neil’s 48 years of service, he changed the fate of thousands of pets and fostered a supportive environment for staff, who learn a lot from his willingness to go above and beyond.

Caroline Oram, an animal welfare assistant, said: “We are the luckiest team, we have an exceptional manager who goes the extra mile to make sure our mental wellbeing is looked after, he cares deeply for pets but he also cares deeply for us.”

He has provided a consistent voice for animal welfare in the local area by educating and changing perceptions. He is set to continue volunteering with the charity following retirement.

“I would ask you to honour his unique and outstanding achievements throughout his 48 years in animal welfare.”

“Neil has helped to shape Blue Cross rehoming services which will go on to help tens and thousands of pets and people after he has retired,” added a spokesperson for Blue Cross.

 

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