Gentleshaw Bird of Prey Hospital and Wildlife Centre was founded by Rob Smith, an ex-gamekeeper, with a keen interest in wildlife.
The hospital came into being after an injured Tawny Owl was brought to Rob by a friend. After successfully healing and returning the owl to the wild, Rob decided that he would like to help birds of prey on a larger scale and so Gentleshaw Bird of Prey Hospital was born in 1987.
Rob soon started rescuing captive birds of prey, birds that had been kept as pets whose owners had grown bored of them. Rob's back garden soon filled up and it was time to find a larger place to set up a sanctuary where he could take in and care for more unwanted animals as well as running the hospital. Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre, at its base in Eccleshall opened in 1993 and 2016 saw our 23rd birthday.
Not only did Rob create the centre, he built it with his own hands, every single structure and enclosure was designed, created and maintained by Rob. Rob spent years rescuing and working with birds of prey, primates and other exotic species. He appeared on Blue Peter, The Really Wild Show, news programmes, and the Discovery Channel among many. He also featured regularly in local and national press promoting the work of the centre and hospital.
It was a severe shock when Rob passed away suddenly in December 2003. It was a mark of the respect Rob had achieved when floods of messages came in to the centre following his untimely death.
The centre is now under the management of Rob's eldest daughter Jenny,
who has been working at the centre, at Rob's side, for many years. She
is a qualified zoo keeper and devoted to the well-being of the animals
in her care. In the Queens 90th Birthday Honours in 2016, Jenny was awarded
the British Empire Medal for her services to Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation
Rob, a modern day Noah and much-loved husband and Dad.