An iconic bird rescue centre is battling on despite the family that runs it being struck down by serious illness.
The wife of Leyland’s Barn Owl Bill – Carole Higham – has suffered a stroke which has put an immediate stop to the Southbrook Road sanctuary taking in any birds or attending any rescues.
Carole, 67, became Bill’s vital support when he himself suffered ill health some years ago, but suffered a stroke at the start of the year.
Bill, 63, said of his wife this week: “She’s been the one that’s carried Barn Owl Bill since I took a bad turn five of six years ago.”
Carole is now out of hospital – she spent a week at Royal Preston – after the stroke hit.
“She’s had a bleed on the brain which has affected her left side,” explained Bill.
“It’s come at the wrong time, but of course there’s never a good time.
“Carole’s not one for sitting around doing nothing.
“Some of the volunteers have been absolutely fantastic. We’re still operating. The only thing we can do now is give advice.
“This weather’s no good to me, it gets into my bones.
“We seem to be struggling through, God knows how. We have to do it, it’s one of those things. Needs must as the devil drives, as they say. We’re not going to stop looking after the birds we’ve got.”
Bill said Carole did all the driving, but that her balance as a result of the stroke “isn’t overly good.”
Carole’s illness was publicly revealed in a message on the Barn Owl Bill Owl Rescue Facebook page on January 6, which read: “I am sorry to say that we are unable to take in any more birds or attend any rescues as I have had a stroke and am unable to drive or use my left arm and hand.”
Carole’s stroke happened at home. “She was making a brew and just lost sensation down her arm,” said Bill. “She said it’s a trapped nerve, it’ll release itself. It shouldn’t happen to people like Carole. She was in hospital a week.”
Carole has received lots of well-wishing support.
Katie Williams wrote on Facebook: “Carole, I’m sorry to hear you had a stroke please look after yourself your a very important woman to both your family friends birds and the community.”
Dianne Evans commented: “Sending prayers from across the pond.”
World Of Owls Amazing Animal Road Show messaged: “Bill, I am sorry to hear about your misfortune. We all at World of Owls wish you a speedy recovery.”
Anyone interested in helping Bill to look after the centre’s sick or injured birds of prey can call him on 07775746416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org