THE co-founder of Dorset Wildlife Rescue has lost his battle with cancer.

Nick Ridge co-founded the organisation with his wife Sandi.

She said he was an active campaigner for human rights, animal welfare and environmental issues.

The pair founded Dorset Wildlife Rescue in 2000, a voluntary service where they rescued and rehabilitated injured and orphaned wild mammals.

In 2005, Nick and Sandi were proud to receive the IFAW Animal Action Award for the UK wildlife rescuers at the House of Commons.

Starting off in their back garden with a garage converted into an animal hospital, Dorset Wildlife Rescue became well known and used by the public, the RSPCA and many Dorset veterinary practices.

Over the years the service grew with the help and assistance of supporters across Dorset, who offered land on which to build rehabilitation and release pens, and volunteers who gave up their time to assist with rescuing injured animals.

Since the founding of Dorset Wildlife Rescue, Nick and Sandi, with the help of their volunteers, have successfully re-released thousands of wild animals back into the wild.

Sandi said: “The loss of Nick is devastating for all who loved him, for who he was, and what he achieved in his life.

“He will remain an inspiration to us all.

“I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful support and for all the kindness offered to me since Nick’s passing.”