In memory of Mike: Rutland Morris dancers donate to local hedgehog rescue in honour of founding member

By Evie Payne

30th Jan 2024 | Local News

Rachel, Jay and Nat from Prickleback Urchin Hedgehog Rescue accepting their donation, with The Rutland Morris and Mike's Widow, Sally. Image credit: Prickleback Urchin Hedgehog Rescue.
Rachel, Jay and Nat from Prickleback Urchin Hedgehog Rescue accepting their donation, with The Rutland Morris and Mike's Widow, Sally. Image credit: Prickleback Urchin Hedgehog Rescue.

The Rutland Morris have donated £100 to a local hedgehog rescue in memory of one of their founding member who recently passed away.

The Rutland Morris have been dancing in Oakham and Rutland for 50 years, having been founded by Mike Harnett and a group of fellow Morris-enthusiasts in 1974.

Since then, the group have participated in a range of events, local milestones and fundraising activities across Rutland.

Sadly, last year the group said farewell to Mike, who passed away in the summer following a lengthy illness. Mike was the first Squire of the locally renowned group, and was passionate about keeping the spirit of Morris alive and continuing its involvement within the local community.

Remembering his dedicated contribution to the group and community, this week the troop has donated to a local hedgehog rescue with the aim of supporting the ongoing work with local wildlife.

Prickleback Urchin Hedgehog Rescue, based in Rutland's Market Overton, welcomed the generous donation on Monday 29 January at an event hosted by The Rutland Morris.

Rachel runs the rescue alongside her partner, Jay, and another local hedgehog hero, Nat. The trio rescue injured and sick hedgehogs, support babies who have been abandoned by their mothers and educate the local community about the importance of the local hedgehog population.

They run the rescue centre from their home - alongside working full time! - and rely heavily upon donations to keep running. As such, this donation means a lot to the team.

Rachel said: "We are humbled to receive a £100 donation from The Rutland Morris group in memory of one of their founding member, Mike Harnett.

"Jay knew Mike personally, so this donation is particularly special and it was even more special as Mike's widow Sally joined us for the presentation.

"What Jay, Nat and I weren't quite expecting was how energetic, enjoyable and entertaining the evening would be as we had the privilege of joining the groups practice session.

"We are so grateful that the group have chosen to support our rescue efforts with this donation and have had a fantastic evening taking part in a few dances over the evening.

"The donation will be put towards our preparation for the influx of hoglets later in the year. Hand rearing hoglets is particularly costly in terms of specialist equipment and food."

As well as accepting the generous donation and chatting about the work they do, the trio joined in with some dancing and shared a great deal of community spirit with the friendly Rutland Morris crew.

Rachel concluded: "The group have several new members so luckily we weren't alone as complete novices! Thank you once again."

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