Our History


Raystede was founded in 1952 by Miss M Raymonde-Hawkins MBE with the aim of preventing and relieving cruelty to animals and to protect them from unnecessary suffering.

Following a successful career in education in Sussex Miss Raymonde-Hawkins purchased the present day site of Raystede in the 1930s. She was always devoted to animal welfare and in the late 1940s decided to provide facilities equal if not better than existing animal charities. In the early days, Raystede operated from her own cottage and adjoining garden.

Over the years more land was purchased and facilities improved, with kennels and a cattery provided to the highest standards but at welfare rates. From the outset what marked Raystede out from other animal charities was its education role – encouraging people to be aware of the needs of animals and their right to respect.

Today Raystede operates over a 43 acre site, with state of the art facilities for all sorts of animals from birds to small animals, dogs and cats to goats and horses. A further defining feature of Raystede now much copied was the first ever animal crematorium - ‘Peaceways’ which opened in 1964.

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