A VETERAN wildlife campaigner from North Ayrshire who founded a rescue centre to help animals from across the area has died after a short illness.

Gaynor Christie, better known as Gay, ran the Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre near Beith alongside her husband Andy.

Gay was diagnosed with a brain tumour just six weeks ago and died on Tuesday, May 28.

The rescue centre helped thousands of mammals and birds each year, and its work led to both Gay and Andy being awarded MBEs for their services in 2002.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Gay was a regular contributor to the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, where her Wildlife Weekly column ran for many years.

She and Andy began caring for animals way back 1970, when they brought an injured fox cub into their home to help nurse it back to full health.

Nine years later they moved house, and their patient list grew, as did the Hessilhead Wildlife Trust. It became a registered charity in 1986.

Today, Hessilhead occupies a 20-acre site, including woodland, marsh, and open water. 

The centre aims to rescue, treat, rehabilitate and release birds and animals back to the wild and has facilities and experience to treat all species of Scottish wildlife.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Facilities include an intensive care unit, a swan/seal hospital with an indoor pool, a hedgehog unit, and more than 60 outdoor aviaries, enclosures and release pens.

Gay's funeral details are yet to be confirmed.

The thoughts of the all the Ayrshire Weekly Press team are with Gay's husband Andy, her family and friends, and the wider Hessilhead team.