Once upon a not so long ago I used to help Niall and Anthea with their 'Walking for Softies' tours, leading people on a weekend visit on guided walks (with lunch provided) around the area. One day I was to meet them in the car park at The Moors Centre and then we'd all head off to meet the coach up on the Beacon. The car pulled up and as I opened the back door I was greet by a cry of, "Don't sit on the bat!" There in a shoe box was an injured pipistrelle, as local licensed bat handlers they'd been called out the night before to collect the injured bat and after the walk it was going to the the "bat lady" in Kirkby for veterinary treatment and rehabilitation. It had a tour around the dale with Anthea in the support car whilst Niall and I led the visitors on their walk. At lunchtime it was offered a drink of water from a paper towel and, in lieu of fresh flies, from the tweezers out of Niall's pocket knife it very delicately took tuna shreds out of one of the sandwiches which it chomped up with great enjoyment displaying a rather fine set of very sharp teeth.
I have a special fondness for bats, Mum has a thing for them too, we bought her a bat box for a birthday present once (it was never inhabited as there are enough roost sites around our house, including the garage which is often a summer roost for brown long-ear) and Niall gifted us with his old bat detector subsequently many happy evening hours have been spent trying to decipher the array of clicks and frequencies.
My liking for bats was only one of many reasons why we chose Bat Conservation Trust to be our first featured charity. It wasn't quite saying we like that one, they'll do. We had a few criteria when making a list of possible charities: not too big (yet) but big enough to be able to handle what we hope will be a flood of enquiries and also have the capacity to write a few self-promoting articles (first one here). They had to be relevant to CJS, of course, not just our personal favourites (of which more to follow...). We narrowed it down and BCT fitted the bill perfectly - needless to say I was pleased!