‘I look after 150 stray hedgehogs at my home in Birmingham as well as working as a global investment banker’

Deutsche bank manager Sharon Baker tells BirminghamWorld about her hedgehog rescue service in Birmingham

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She’s a bank manager at one of the biggest banks in the world operating from a base in Birmingham city centre by day.

But after finishishing her 9-to-5 job at Deutsche Bank in Brindleyplace in the Westside area Sharon Baker runs a hedgehog rescue service at her home in south Birmingham.

Sharon, who is employed at Deutsche Bank in Brindleyplace, in the Westside area of Birmingham city centre, saves 150 hedgehogs a year at Array4hogs. She’s converted her garden shed to help endangered hedgehogs and their young, known as hoglets, and has helped hundreds since she set up the service at the end of 2019.

Sharon, who has been with Deutsche Bank for 11 years, said: “A friend of mine, who volunteered for a hedgehog rescue service that’s now closed, thought I was a good person to foster hedgehogs over the winter period. Before I knew what happened I was setting up my own rescue service!”

Sharon, aged 55, said she has always been an “animal person”, but wasn’t especially interested in hedgehogs until her friend asked her to join her in fostering them.

She added: “I started looking into it, and looked at my garden shed, and thought I could do more than volunteering. It just sprouted from that. I bought a couple of hutches off Amazon and my uncle made a couple as well, and I started my own rescue centre.

“I was trying to figure out what to call it and my friends came up with Array4Hogs. I then got in contact with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and was registered as a carer.”

Sharon Baker from hedgehog rescue service Array4hogs in BirminghamSharon Baker from hedgehog rescue service Array4hogs in Birmingham
Sharon Baker from hedgehog rescue service Array4hogs in Birmingham

Sharon, who advertises Array4Hogs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, now renamed as X, took in her first hedgehog in November 2019 from an elderly lady who had been looking after it.

“We now take in between 120 and 150 hedgehogs a year, even more during 2020 as more people spend time at home and in their gardens during Covid lockdowns. And we have a success rate of more than 50 per cent of animals being returned to the wild.”

Sharon said the first thing they check for is whether the hedgehog has been physically injured, then whether it is dehydrated or has suffered a “fly strike” which is when flies have laid eggs on a wounded or sick animal.

“We got them with strimming injuries, burns from bonfires, and even had a hedgehog that was stuck down a drain. They are an endangered species, now red flagged, so we really must do everything we can to save them.”

Sharon, who is holding an awareness session outside a garden centre on the risk of strimmers, is supported by six volunteers who often have to collect hedgehogs from callers across the West Midlands.

“The rescue service is very time-consuming when you have a full-time job, so I am very thankful for my volunteers, and the people who support us with donations of money or things like piles of old newspapers for bedding.”

Mike Olley, general manager at Westside BID, said: "Sharon is yet another example of the wonderful people we have working here on Westside!"

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