Sunday, 25 October 2015

Our UK Hedgehogs Campaign moves a little further on.....

Greetings everyone.  Cy Bear back again.

As the title implies, things are moving on in the Cuddlies efforts to help save the British Hedgehogs. Isobel has been working on it pretty well all week, and I'm in a position to report on some of the developments.

First of all, here's a picture of the Hedgehog Family taken when Isobel was at  the October meeting of the Ashfield U3A Group on Thursday morning this week.  She only took a few of us, because this was the first time she had gone to a group meeting, and it was more of a "getting to know you" type of  occasion - because she obviously was not the only visitor there.  Another reason was that she had only taken half a coffee-type table as well!

A Cuddlies Selection on display at the Ashwood Centre, Kirkby in Ashfield , 22.10.2015

The Frog's leg is large and floppy - and would not move out of the picture!
She was, however, the only visitor/member who had a table on display and I'm pleased to say that one of the Baby Hedgehogs (seen on the right of the photograph) did get adopted, and so the first 10% contribution towards the Saving UK Hedgehogs Cuddlies Campaign is "in the bag".  Not a large sum, maybe:  but it's a start.

After spending a long time on the internet trying to find where the source of the faux fur fabric she uses for the Hedgehogs originated from (other than from where she used to get it when we lived in Wiltshire) - and not succeeding, Isobel "bit the bullet" on Monday morning and rang The Fine Quality Feather Company in Frome, Somerset to see if they could let her know.  Guess what?  The firm gets ALL fabric they use from a wholesaler which is based here in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, where we now live.  So, most of the fabric we now have in the hall cupboard must originally have come from there in the first place! Serendipity or what?

Daddy Hedgehog, on show at "The Artful Buttoner", Kingsway, Kirkby in Ashfield.
So, then Isobel googled Roma Fabrics Limited, found the correct email address to contact and duly sent a brief description of what Coldham Cuddlies is about, and how we had dealt with Fine Quality Feather Company, by taking off-cuts they didn't want and using them for us Cuddlies.  

Roma Fabrics, being wholesalers dealing direct with the trade, don't do off-cuts!  Isobel responded by saying that she is accustomed to being treated as "Trade" by the plush and tartan fabric suppliers she deals with.  Roma Fabrics, then told  her she could apply to be treated as a Trade customer.  This has been done - and we now await approval of our registration.  (Our application went in late on Friday afternoon, so probably the department concerned with such matters had already shut shop and gone home for the week-end).  

If accepted (one never takes these things for granted), Roma Fabrics' minimum order is 0.5 metres (half a yard, or thereabouts):  most of the other companies we deal with demand a minimum of 1.0 metre (39 inches for those unaccustomed to metric measurements).  I'm told by Isobel that one can get quite a lot of Hedgehogs made with half a yard (width usually being 54 or 60 inches).  We do have some of the Hedgehog special speckled fabric in stock, but Isobel does want to ensure she can get replacements quickly, as and when required.

Mommy Hedgehog - watching what's happening in "The Artful Buttoner"
Kirkby in Ashfield is a very friendly place.  Isobel finds she gets chatting with people even when she's sitting on the 'bus going into Town for her weekly shopping, or to check on whether any Cuddlies have been adopted from "The Artful Buttoner", where the Hedgehogs had been sitting, until removed for the Craft Fair earlier this week.  (They'll be going back again next week)  From our neighbours and Claire Lilley, Owner and Operator of "The Artful Buttoner" (who is more than happy for the Shop to be used for any photographs by the local newspaper - which Isobel has yet to contact) she learned about a Wildlife Sanctuary right here in Kirkby. 

Subsequent Googles disclosed that quite literally it is based down the road and around the corner to where we are based. (Again, what a coincidence, eh?)  There were two email contact address connected with this Sanctuary,  and they handled ALL wildlife needing help, not only Hedgehogs.  Isobel - not knowing either of the personalities involved - not unnaturally chose the first one.

Turns out that, alas, the gentleman is now now longer involved.  Isobel discovered however that he is a print and publicity material designer, likes our idea of helping Hedgehogs, and has offered to help with any publicity material we might need on either a "f.o.c." or at cost basis.  (Isobel presumes that "f.o.c." means "free of charge", and at the moment has responded "Yes please", but no need at present!)

Baby Hedgehog - who was adopted from the Craft Display on Thursday 22.10.2015
However that may now change.  Having tried to contact the other person involved at the Kirkby Sanctuary, and not being made exactly welcome, (almost the first rebuff she's had since moving up from Wiltshire), Isobel was surprised and somewhat bowled over on Saturday afternoon.  While checking one of her two Facebook pages  she found a message sent from one of her Etsy team colleagues about a story run on Friday evening's local BBC TV News programme from the West Midlands (based in Birmingham) giving the name of another lady based near Walsall, in the West Midlands, who is actively seeking funding for her work. 

 Now, Melissa Miller (another funny coincidence, actually, because Isobel's maiden name was Miller!) from Alabama, USA  runs and she is a fellow member of the Etsy Team  Melissa is a great Anglophile, and has often mentioned items she's seen when watching BBC programmes when she and Isobel are "chatting" on the Team Chat Thread (led for the Team by Isobel, incidentally), but this link is mind blowing.  Having "commented" (as I'm told one does when operating on Facebook, giving a link to my first mention of our Save the Hedgehog Campaign ) Isobel  then telephoned BBC Midlands Today offices in Birmingham.  The switchboard put her through to the department who produced the story last night (it hadn't even been uploaded to BBC iPlayer at the time), and was given the contact details of the lady involved.

Immediate contact was made and I'm delighted to tell you that  it's been telephonically agreed that some of the 10% proceeds from future Coldham Cuddlies Hedgehog sales will be going to Joan Lockley, c/o West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue. Joan has been rescuing Hogs for over 15 years, and in that time has taken in over 5,000 animals - never refusing any of them.  Isobel is now going to write a press release (she used to do a lot of this when Peter and she operated a P.R and Publishing Company in Canada called Coldham Press Ltd),  The draft will be sent to Joan to check facts for accuracy before the next steps on this part of the campaign are taken.

These will probably involve contacting the local weekly Ashfield District newspaper and BBC East Midlands and BBC Midlands to officially launch the campaign, and maybe even inviting "The Lady" magazine to come to the party too!  After all, it was the result of an article in the latter, that started all this off, wasn't it?

We've not been inactive in other areas in the interim.  The Hedgehog Family will now be created as a ColdhamCuddlies entity in itself and listed.  The three separate Hedgehog Toys are already listed and featured in our Shop (//  and every time someone "follows" any or all of them, Isobel writes to tell that person(s) about the need to save our UK Hedgehogs.  So, slowly, it's getting known on too.   Everyone has been very verbally supportive to date - and hopefully, Isobel will be busy sewing lots of Hogs between now, Christmas and beyond.  We'll be telling you all how we get on, obviously, as the days go by.

The Hedgehog Family when they first arrived in "The Artful Buttoner" earlier in the Summer
That's all for this week.  Your Friend Cy Bear

PS:  Isobel has just been able to upload this video all about Joan Lockley and her amazing Hedgehog "Hosprikal"!  Enjoy. (If it works, of course).