A WOMAN who has dedicated her life to rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured animals was presented with the MBE yesterday.

Lord Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, presented Jean Thorpe with the award at Natural England’s offices in Wheldrake, near York.

Mrs Thorpe, 62, of Norton, who founded Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation in 2005, was given the award in the New Year Honours for services to wildlife rescue in Yorkshire.

“It was lovely,” she said. “Lord Lieutenant is a really nice man. It’s nice that it took place at a nature reserve where I work as a volunteer.”

Mrs Thorpe said she had not been able to go to Buckingham Palace to receive the honour as it would have meant an overnight stay in the capital to be there on time, and she could not leave the birds and animals for so long, so she asked for it to be presented in North Yorkshire.

The Press has reported previously how, on average, she rescues nearly 400 animals a year and she also finds time to work with local schools to encourage the value of nature.

She has also supported the work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, by giving key, expert evidence in enforcement cases and is now established as an expert witness who works closely with the police, RSPB, RSPCA and Natural England.

She has told how she became interested in wildlife after nursing a bird with a broken wing back to health at the age of 12.