Woodside supporters to be laid to rest among the animals they loved

Two women who devoted much of their lives to helping unwanted and abused pets are to have her ashes buried at a Plymouth sanctuary, alongside the animals they helped.

Jean Riggs and Pat Fitzpatrick spent decades supporting Woodside Animal Welfare Trust, and the 1,000-plus animals taken in by the charity each year.

For Jean and Pat, the sanctuary at Elfordleigh became part of their families and, during some of its toughest times, their generosity helped the charity continue.

Near their homes in Liskeard and Plymouth respectively, Jean and Pat volunteered in Woodside’s charity shops and welcomed numerous rescued animals into their homes.

Despite both being in their 80s, Jean and Pat remained committed to the work of the sanctuary right up until their sad deaths towards the end of last year.

Their final wish was to be laid to rest in Woodside’s flowering Pet Memorial Garden, and this will be honoured by the charity in a special service to be held in early April, on what would have been Jean’s 87th birthday.

Woodside founder Carole Bowles, said: “Jean and Pat have been very good to Woodside throughout their lives. It is people like Jean and Pat who have kept us going through the sink or swim times.

“Both Jean and Pat just loved the animals. They didn’t like the idea of money being wasted in any way, it had to go to the animals.”

Carole first met Jean when their husbands worked together in the police, while Pat was a good friend of Woodside’s secretary Mandy Mcarthur.

During the rebuilding of the sanctuary in the late 1990s, when ramshackle wooden huts were replaced with purpose-built structures, it was Jean’s generosity that enabled Woodside to finish the roof on the first building.

This building is home to many dogs and cats currently being cared for by Woodside, as well as a reception area and offices.

It is behind this building that Jean and Pat’s ashes will be buried in the beautiful Pet Memorial Garden, and engraved plaques laid in their memory.

“When people have not got family, we become their family,” Carole said. “We feel very lucky to have had the support of Jean and Pat.”

To find out more about Woodside visit www.woodsidesanctuary.org.uk, email generalenquiries@woodsidesanctuary.org.uk or call 01752 347503.