Top honour for RSPCA volunteer

30th anniversary of RSPCA animal centre at Wade Street, Halifax'Pictured is trustee Kath Airey at the kennels
30th anniversary of RSPCA animal centre at Wade Street, Halifax'Pictured is trustee Kath Airey at the kennels

A dedicated volunteer who is celebrating their 30th anniversary with the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield and District branch has been awarded one of the charity’s top honours.

Kathryn Airey was given the RSPCA’s Queen Victoria Gold Medal at a prestigious ceremony on Saturday, in recognition of her exceptional work and long service helping animals in need.

Kathryn has been instrumental in a number of projects, ranging from overseeing the fundraising appeal to build a new cattery to establishing a schools liaison and education scheme, which teaches local children about animal welfare issues.

She was also one of the driving forces behind the branch’s annual K9 Party in the Park, which regularly raises up to £6,000 every year.

One of her most successful projects has been the EARS scheme, which ensures that animals aged 10 years or older in the branch’s care are now more likely to find loving homes for the rest of their lives.

Kathryn is currently treasurer of the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield and District branch, but she was also Chair of the former RSPCA Halifax branch and oversaw the merger with Huddersfield.

She said: “I am delighted to be receiving this award. It is a great privilege and an honour especially as it is my 30th year. It is great to be recognised.”

Michael Ward, RSPCA interim Chief Executive Officer, said: “The number of initiatives that Kathryn has been behind is staggering. She is constantly thinking of new ways not only to help animals directly, but also how awareness of welfare issues can be improved among the local community.

“To have shown such tireless dedication for 30 years is an incredible achievement and one which we are thrilled to have recognised as part of the RSPCA Honours.

“Kathryn epitomises those unsung heroes with the RSPCA community who make what we do possible. Every year we rescue, rehabilitate and rehome hundreds of thousands of animals, but none of that would be possible without people like her.”

For more than 100 years, the RSPCA Honours have been given to recognise people and organisations who’ve helped us in our goal to end cruelty, protect animals from abuse and further our knowledge of animal welfare.

The Queen Victoria Medal is one of the oldest RSPCA awards, and dates back to 1840 when Queen Victoria gave the charity the Royal patronage. She also gave her permission for the Queen Victoria Medal to be given in recognition of volunteering.