AN animal lover who has rescued more than 2,000 creatures is stepping down.

Patrick Jackson has been head rescuer at Ainsworth Wildlife Rescue for more than five years will now be heading down south to continue his good work.

Because of his passion for animals, Patrick started the rescue charity with his friend, Bernice Jackson, to help injured and endangered wild animals.

He said: “Helping animals is different to helping humans or even domestic animals, because they can’t thank you - they don’t even look back when you send them back into the wild.

“When you find an animal that’s sick or injured and help nurse it back to health, it’s a feeling you can’t fully describe

“Ensuring animals can live in peace is my whole life. Many of the calls I go out on involve animals that have been injured by man so it’s vital that we’re more aware of it.

“It’s what I do full-time, so I’m going to carry on fighting the good fight somewhere else. I can’t reveal exactly where I’m going but it’s down iin the south-east, covering a similar area.”

He said the rescue charity was “really close to my heart” and praised colleagues who had contributed to its success.

Patrick added: “Recently, we’ve had a tough time and the Avian flu situation has made things challenging.

“On my last day I will be very upset but I know I’ll be doing good elsewhere.”

A rescue charity spokesman paid tribute to Patrick in a farewell post on their Facebook site.

It read: “Patrick has really made this rescue grow and be what it is today. Bernice and him were talking the other day about how crazy it really has gone from originally just doing a few rescues together to the organisation now responding to well over 2,000 incidents last year.

“Patrick is sadly leaving us for pastures new but we want to wish him all the best for the future. His last day will be January 31. This means that as February 1 the rescue will temporarily change to just being an advice line while we adjust to the changes we will signpost you to (other rescues and vets).