Leo & Harvey

A Brief History of our Charity

In 1977 Pauline Cantor was asked if she would set up a local rescue charity for cats and dogs so, with the help of five animal loving friends and £30 in the kitty, Paws & Claws was born. There was obviously dire need for such a service to plug the gaps not filled by the well-known animal charities and the society quickly grew.

Initially we were lucky to be offered 3 pens at Gaybrook Cattery, Goddards Green, and then more accommodation was offered as the owners, Vi and Jim Warriner, became involved with our service. Their support was invaluable. Some years later they allowed us to re-erect on their land the cricket pavilion which we bought from Haywards Heath Grammar School. “The Pavilion” became our dedicated unit for our old and unhomeable cats and was fully furnished for their comfort with an adjoining veranda and garden.

Coombe Down

After 28 years devoted to serving the local community we were able to buy a property in Sayers Common where we have purpose-built our own Rescue Centre.

Phase I, comprising a homing block with 9 pens, an isolation unit, a utility room/toilet and a brand new Pavilion was completed in March 2006 with a Grand Opening party in July.

Just before Christmas, a legacy from the estate of an original member was given expressly to build a second homing block in her name. Bennett's Barn was finished and put into use in March 2007. This block has 8 pens with outside runs and a communal garden where the cats can enjoy more space for exercise and prospective owners can enjoy time getting to know their chosen cat.

The new block was officially opened on 29th July 2007 to coincide with our 30th Birthday celebrations at the Rescue Centre.

Coome Down

We have rescued and re-homed thousands of cats over the years, no animal is ever put to sleep except on veterinary advice. We ensure every cat is spayed or neutered, wormed, de-flea'd, microchipped and if necessary nursed to full health before being re-homed. Our work is entirely voluntary and all money raised goes to directly benefit the cats in our care.

We are a small local charity serving the Mid-Sussex area. We do not have the funds and backing of the bigger organisations and are entirely dependent on the public to help us continue our work.

We have a small band of very dedicated fund raisers and always welcome good things to sell at our coffee mornings and other events. Five Paws & Claws Book Fairs are held each year at Lewes Town Hall where 40 – 50 booksellers from all over the South East have stalls, plus our own.

Sadly, Sylvia Hull, a founder member, chairman and manager at Gaybrook, died and was never to see our dream fulfilled. We dedicated our first homing block to her memory.

A big thank you to all who have supported us faithfully over the years.