A WILDLIFE enthusiast is embarking on her first competitive race to help save injured swans.

Lisa Nicholls, is taking part in the Tatton Park 10k on Saturday in aid of the RSPCA's Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, a wildlife hospital which has successfully treated and released more than 70 swans this year.

The self-employed accountant, from Northwich, became interested in the birds while out walking during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Lisa, 51, of Blakemere Drive, Kingsmead, said: “I found a swan sitting on her nest. I’d worked out when the eggs were likely to hatch and I was so lucky to see three little cygnets shortly after they’d been born.

cygnets just hatched

Lisa was thrilled to see three little cygnets shortly after they were born

"I continued to watch the family throughout the summer and got to know their personalities. They really kept me going during lockdown.

“I was devastated when the cygnets all died from suspected botulism, but knowing them sparked an interest in swans."

Lisa has discovered a wider group of people who shared her passion.

"I learned more about other local swans, including Mabel, who had spent time being treated at Stapeley Grange after being shot and attacked by a dog," she said.

Mabel the swan

Mabel, who was treated at Stapeley Grange after being shot and attacked by a dog

“The more we follow the swans, the more aware we become of the hazards that they face, with far too many requiring treatment for injuries caused by discarded fishing line and hooks.

"Stapeley Grange does so much work to rescue and rehabilitate these birds that I had no hesitation in deciding I wanted my fundraising efforts to benefit them.”

Lisa has already raised £300 and hopes to reach her £500 target.

swan family

Lisa is keen to support the wildlife hospital which treats and releases injured swans

Stapeley Grange is one of four RSPCA wildlife centres in England that supports the rehabilitation of sick, injured, orphaned and confiscated wildlife.

The centre admits animals from the Scottish border to south of Birmingham, into North Wales and across to Lincolnshire.

Around 5,000 wild animals, from orphaned deer to injured hedgehogs, have been admitted so far this year as staff provide a lifeline around the clock.

Lisa Nicholls and Chalene Gibson

Lisa Nicholls trained for the Tatton Park 10k with friend Chalene Gibson

Lisa trained for the run with friend Chalene Gibson, who has raised £500 in sponsorship but is now unable to take part in the race due to injury and will be walking instead.

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Lisa-Nicholls10

To support the ongoing work of the wildlife hospital visit justgiving.com/campaign/RSPCAStapeleyGrangeWildlife