• Rae Gellel

Man Vows to Live in His Van for a Month to Raise Funds for Animal Rescue

After being told that his work van would likely break down in a month’s time, an Enfield-based man decided to give his trusty vehicle a dramatic send-off, whilst also raising some much-needed funds for a growing animal rescue unit.

Image courtesy of Runham Wildlife Rescue.

Shaun Wolmer is an ex-army vet with close ties to Norfolk-based animal rescue centre, Runham Wildlife Rescue (RWR), which is dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife, and some domestic animals.

Recently, the organisation has embarked on an ambitious expansion project, beginning construction on new premises that will include an education centre, a medical room, and a specialised baby unit. These developments not only aim to increase the charity’s reach in Norfolk, but will also offer release facilities for wildlife rehabilitators in London with few local resources, such as myself.

Because RWR is supported entirely by public donations, however, securing funds for the project has been an ongoing battle.

So, when his 'builders van' was given an imminent expiration date by mechanics, RWR supporter Shaun Wolmer conceived of an unorthodox fundraising scheme, all centered around the ill-fated vehicle. He made some small conversions to the van, adding a bed and a camp stove, and then vowed to live in it for one month starting the 18th of March, travelling the legnth of the British coast and back whilst gathering sponsorship from the public.

Wolmer intends to visit natural landmarks in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, litter-picking and volunteering in environmental and animal rescue projects along the way, whilst also vlogging about his experiences. In addition to appealing for sponsorship and donating all funds to the wildlife centre, he hopes to raise awareness about the huge number of animals injured and killed on UK roads, which account for a large percentage of RWR’s intake every year.

Whether the van will survive the mammoth journey, without incident, remains to be seen, and is all part of the excitement of following his travels. Whatever happens, it is set to go out with a bang.

Shaun in his van.

As a wildlife rehabilitator myself, in a part of London with very little coverage by wildlife rescue centres, Runham Wildlife Rescue has been of invaluable support to me in the past year.

In addition to being extremely forthcoming with advice, always offered without judgment - something unfortunately quite rare in the rescue field - RWR have also accepted a large number of birds from me for release at their centre in Norfolk. Since I currently lack a dedicated space to set up outdoor release cages for wildlife, this is absolutely central to my ability to help wild animals in my patch of London.

To donate, visit Shaun's GoFundMe page.

You can also read more about Runham Wildlife Rescue on their website, or follow Shaun's journey via his Instagram and YouTube account.

Derek, rescued by Runham Wildlife Rescue. Picture courtesy of RWR.

RELATED: Meet the Rescues: An Interview with Kelly Wolmer, the Founder of Runham Wildlife Rescue