The Swan Sanctuary is a registered charity committed to the care and treatment of swans and waterfowl. It was founded by Dorothy Beeson, who started the swan welfare in her back garden in the early 1980s.
Over the years, Beeson’s work expanded so she decided to sell her house to help finance the cost of building the first national sanctuary on a 2-acre site in Egham, Surrey. The sanctuary rapidly grew so they moved to a bigger location in Shepperton, Middlesex.
Today, the sanctuary operates 24/7 and responds immediately whenever there’s a ‘swan in distress’ call.
“At the sanctuary each injured bird is examined and, if necessary, X-rayed before going into our operating theatre – the only one of its kind in the country – where a full range of anaesthetic, oxygenation and surgical equipment is available,” according to the website.
Once a bird recovers, it is placed in one of their outdoor rehab pens. They continue to provide extra care and nutritious food until the swan is ready to return to its natural habitat.
In 2018, the Swan Sanctuary was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. “We have many volunteers who give their time and effort freely to The Swan Sanctuary without expecting anything in return apart from the satisfaction of helping our wildlife.”