A Brief History of our Charity
In 1977 Pauline Cantor was asked if she would set up a local rescue charity for cats and dogs so, with the help of five animal loving friends and £30 in the kitty, Paws & Claws was born. There was obviously dire need for such a service to plug the gaps not filled by the well-known animal charities and the society quickly grew.
Initially we were lucky to be offered 3 pens at Gaybrook Cattery, Goddards Green, and then more accommodation was offered as the owners, Vi and Jim Warriner, became involved with our service. Their support was invaluable. Some years later they allowed us to re-erect on their land the cricket pavilion which we bought from Haywards Heath Grammar School. This building housed the old and unhomeable cats and was fully furnished for their comfort with an adjoining veranda and garden.
After 28 years devoted to serving the local community we were able to buy a property in Sayers Common where we have purpose-built our own Rescue Centre. Phase I, a homing block with 9 pens, an isolation unit, a utility room/toilet and a new Pavilion were completed in March 2006. A Grand Opening party was held in July that year.
Just before Christmas, a legacy from the estate of an original member was given expressly to build a second homing block in her name. Bennett's Barn was finished and put into use in March 2007. This block has 8 pens with outside runs and a communal garden where the cats can enjoy more space for exercise and prospective owners can enjoy time getting to know the cat of their choice.
On 29th July 2007 we held our 30th Birthday celebrations at the Rescue Centre along with the official opening of the new block.
Thousands of animals have been rescued and re-homed over the years and no cat is put to sleep unless our vet advises it. Every cat is spayed or neutered, wormed, de-flea'd, microchipped and if necessary nursed to full health before being rehomed. Our work is entirely voluntary and all money raised goes to directly benefit the cats in our care.
We have a small band of very dedicated fund raisers and always welcome good things to sell at our coffee mornings and other events. Five book fairs are held each year in our name in Lewes Town Hall where 40 – 50 booksellers from all over the South East have stalls, plus our own.
Founder members Pauline Cantor (president) and Ann Scotchmur are still members but sadly Sylvia Hull, also a founder member, chairman and manager at Gaybrook, died and was never to see the dream fulfilled. The first homing block is dedicated to her memory.
Ours is a small local charity serving the Mid-Sussex area. As we do not have the funds and backing of the bigger organisations we are entirely dependent on the public to help us continue our good work.
A big thank you to all who have supported us faithfully over the years.