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‘Born’ with a love for animals


HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, [email protected]

‘Born’ with a love for animals

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THE MAN WHO has spent decades on call to rescue that injured sheep or trapped dog still sleeps with one eye open . . . just in case.

But the RSPCA’s chief inspector Wayne Norville accepts the lack of sleep as a necessary evil of calling to which he was drawn from the time he was a boy.

Norville, who is in the process of writing his autobiography, was a recent guest on The Beat 104.1’s Animal Talk programme. That autobiography will tell of his life and work with animals and the RSPCA for more than four decades.

The man, whose face and name have become synonymous with the Cheltenham Lodge, Spring Garden animal charity, said he joined the RSPCA in 1973 and worked as a volunteer there until 1975 when the position of inspector became available “through an accident”.

“From then until now I was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I was still living at home. It was a constant on the go,” he said.

“And it was the entire country and there was no mode of communication other than landline phones. So I would receive a call for an animal in St Philip and then when I came back down I would get another call to go back to St Philip or to St Lucy, and back then there was no Highway 2A,” he told the show’s host.

“And it was both day and night. I developed a problem sleeping in that I can’t go to sleep before 12 and I sleep with one eye open and one ear open. The slightest thing would wake me because I always used to be listening for the phone,” he said.

wayne-norville-051417Norville had earlier regaled the show with tales of boyhood days filled with all kinds of animals – from the homing pigeons he took to Combermere School and released “to see if they would go back home”, to the cats and dogs that followed him there and which would wait patiently for him at the end of the schoolday.

And while he might have been a friend to those animals, he found himself the butt of many jokes and cruel ribbings from his fellow students. And it began to take its toll.

“I wasn’t doing very well at school because something was missing and that first year I stood down. And at that point it was pressure from my parents, pressure from school. So there wasn’t any sanctuary for me at that point in time.”

A fight with two other boys eventually earned him a visit to the deputy head’s office.

And deputy head Harry Sealy read all three boys the riot act.

“He spent an hour on each of us and he told me ‘if you don’t change now you are never going to change’.”

But Norville said the deputy head had noticed his (Norville) way with animals and asked if would consider volunteering with the RSPCA.

“I went home and I asked my mum. At that time, I used to help my father. He used to build coffins so it would be taking away his help, but he said ‘all right, go’ and that is how I got into RSPCA and I can’t seem to find my way back out,” Norville said. (HLE)

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