THE SWAN SANCTUARY - Shepperton
Dorothy Beeson (Dot) is The Swan Sanctuary’s founder and recipient of the British Empire Medal for her unstinting work in swan welfare. Her work started in her back garden in the early 1980s.
Over the years, Dot’s work outgrew her garden so she sold her house to help finance the cost of setting up the first national sanctuary on a 2-acre site in Egham, Surrey where she lived in a caravan with her partner, Stephen Knight.
The sanctuary’s workload rapidly increased on the council-owned site. It soon became clear that a larger site was needed with Security of Tenure. Finally, after years of searching, high hopes, shattered dreams and utter frustration, a new home for the sanctuary was found in Shepperton, Middlesex.
Steve, with his team of volunteers, started work on the new site on 01 January 2005 and, after six months of hard work, the Sanctuary was finally able to transfer its operations and leave the Egham site.
This new site gave the Sanctuary the chance to start again on a much larger scale and, in time, finally open to the public – a dream that Dot and Steve have wanted to fulfil for over a decade.