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National 'Animal Hero' award for De Randall from Kentford, of Edward Foundation, for her work rescuing bulldogs

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A Kentford woman, who has devoted a decade to rescuing bulldogs, has been hailed a national hero.

De Randall was named winner of the Animal Hero category in the Animal Star magazine awards, founded in 2016, which recognise extraordinary achievements by both humans and animals.

Her accolade is for her work through her Edward Foundation, a charity she specifically set up to help bulldogs in need.

De Randall with her bulldog Sausages. Picture by Mark Westley
De Randall with her bulldog Sausages. Picture by Mark Westley

When she is not working as housekeeper to racehorse owner and breeder Kirsten Rausing, De, who has owned bulldogs for around 20 years, devotes every spare minute to running the eponymous charity she set up 10 years ago which is named after its first rescued dog.

It began when De and other members of a bulldog owners’ forum became aware of a dog being advertised at stud on the internet and later for sale.

“We could see from the advert photographs that he was in a terrible condition,” said De, “and, after receiving no help after reporting to the relevant authorities, we decided to raise the money to buy him and get him out of a dire situation.”

Edward, as the dog was re-named, was nursed back to full health by Bulldog Rescue and became the inspiration for the foundation which now bears his name. And in the decade since it was established the registered charity has helped around 1,500 dogs find loving homes.

“Some are heartbreaking hand-ins from people who just want the best for their dogs, others are from more unscrupulous owners,” said De.

“We have a network of 300 volunteers all over the country who are available at the drop of a hat to help a bulldog in need and we can’t thank them enough for their time, their dedication, and their kindness, along with our loyal bunch of supporters without whom the foundation could not exist.

“All the dogs we rescue are in foster homes with families to be assessed,” said De, who takes all the calls to the foundation, working with her re-homing co-ordinator Samantha Morris and Marion Beardall, who sorts the paperwork.

The foundation is a non profit organisation that relies on donation alone to cover all its own vets’ bills, which have reached £145,000 per year, and works closely with other rescue organisations if they ask for help with bulldogs.

“We have rescued bulldogs from China, Spain, Tunisia, Hungary, and of course the UK, over 1,500 to date,” said De.

The recent lockdown has meant the foundation has been busier than ever with people buying dogs while they have been at home and then realising they can’t manage them when they return to work.

“Bulldogs are not easy and they can be difficult,” said De.

“They need a lot of exercise and training.

"People buy bulldogs because they think they are buying a cute wrinkly puppy that will be a couch potato then they find themselves with a hormonal teenager they can’t cope with.”

To find out more, go to www.theedwardfoundation.co.uk or join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/theedwardfoundation.

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