Chesterfield charity marks 80 years of care for our furry friends

Staff, volunteers and friends of the Chesterfield RSPCA help celebrate the branch's 80th anniversary.
Staff, volunteers and friends of the Chesterfield RSPCA help celebrate the branch's 80th anniversary.

This weekend marks a special landmark for one of Chesterfield’s most well-known and popular charities.

For it was 80 years ago as yesterday (Saturday) that RSPCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire branch was founded.

Ranger the domestic short hair tabby gets some attention from Rebecca Kennell.  The two year old is the longest termer in the cattery and is in need of a home.

Ranger the domestic short hair tabby gets some attention from Rebecca Kennell. The two year old is the longest termer in the cattery and is in need of a home.

And it will mark the magical milestone with a number of events throughout April and wants supporters to get involved with the celebrations.

The branch - based on Spital Lane in the town - was originally established independently to the national organisation to improve the welfare of pets and working animals in north Derbyshire.

In its early years the branch was supported by a locally-funded inspector who implemented animal welfare laws.

But during the Second World War, times were not easy and it struggled to survive.

A newspaper cutting from the Derbyshire Times which reports on the opening of the Chesterfield RSPCA's animal shelter in 1962.

A newspaper cutting from the Derbyshire Times which reports on the opening of the Chesterfield RSPCA's animal shelter in 1962.

However, through the dedication of its committed volunteers working alongside the inspector, the charity continued to improve the lives of animals and was able to set up a free vet advice scheme for people who could not afford treatment.

In 1950, kennels were built to take animals rescued by the RSPCA inspector while also being used as boarding for owners who were unable to care for their pets due to illness.

In the early 1960s the current site was acquired and, following a large legacy left to the charity in the early 1970s by Derbyshire animal lover Charlotte Mary Ward, the Animal Centre was expanded to care for more than 100 animals.

Throughout the last eight decades, the branch has helped to rescue and re-home approximately 45,000 dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals and re-unite 24,000 pets with their owners found by the RSPCA inspectors or members of the public.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s milestone, branch chairman Peter Cashman said: “We are extremely proud to have been here to rescue and re-home so many animals over these past 80 years and could not have done so without the staff and volunteers who have dedicated their lives to saving helpless animals who otherwise would not have been given a second chance of a new life.

“We look forward with excitement to the future and want to thank our local community past and present for their loyal support over the years.”

To celebrate its 80th birthday, RSPCA Chesterfield will be holding a spring fayre at Hasland Village Hall on April 28 - featuring craft stalls, tombolas and a cake sale.

Rachel Rennie Photography will also be there to offer a ‘Pooch Pawtrait’ to dog lovers.

- To find out more information, visit www.chesterfield-rspca.org.uk or its Facebook page.