My name is Luke and I have been keeping birds of prey since I was 14 years old.
My passion began at the age of about 6 when I was lucky enough to be chosen to fly a European eagle owl at the new forest owl sanctuary during one of their displays. From that moment I was totally hooked. I started to read books and pester my parents to take me to other bird of prey centres. I also joined the RSPB young ornithologist club as my passion was for birds in general not just birds of prey. When I was 14 I got my first job in a pet shop and met a few people that would come in and buy food for their birds. After getting to know these people I was lucky enough to volunteer for one of them and get my very own barn owl.
I went on to become manager of this pet shop before it closed and I moved on to manage 2 other very large pet shops and also run my own for a couple of years. During this time I still kept many different species of birds.
Once I closed our pet shop I put together a letter to the south of England’s rare breed centre in Woodchurch. Within that letter I proposed to them that I would take all my birds to their centre and give regular talks and displays to the public. After weeks of building new aviaries I moved all my birds in and happily worked there for 7 years. My time only finished there as I wanted to grow and move on rather than just stagnate and do the same thing day in day out.
We started Wide Eyes Falconry Kids club in 2015 with the help of my eldest son who I was hoping would be running the business once he had finished college. Unfortunately he decided to go off and do other things like most teenagers his age, so I was left with a decision! Do we stop bird club? Or do I go part time at work and expand the club? After much thought I am happy to say we carried on running our club and it has grown tremendously.
We currently have over 30 regular children attending and 6 volunteers.
My name is Angela Sorrell I am married to Luke and we have 4 beautiful children together.
When I left school many years ago I became a dental nurse and did this until our first child was born in 1997, I then became a full time mum. We moved to Smarden in 2009 all the children where a little more independent by this time so I started working at Smarden primary school. I initially started as a dinner lady and worked my way up to teaching assistant which I still do and love to this day.
Throughout my years of marriage to Luke I have learnt to share his passion for birds of prey sometimes forced upon me by sharing a bedroom to several species of baby birds whilst hand rearing through the breeding season. (A mother’s work is never done).
I am very passionate about working with children and love seeing the joy they get from being here around the birds. I get great satisfaction helping children with additional needs working with animals really gives them a chance to boost their confidence and promotes empathy by being gentle and respectful to the birds.
My name is Emily
From a very young age I have always had a keen interest in Birds of prey, I would always help my parents to imprint the babies which was my favourite part. As I grew up I started doing more and enjoyed passing my knowledge on to other children.
I left school last year and decided I would like to join the family business , now I train birds, do flying displays and take people out on experiences .
I have reared my own Russian steppe eagle that I am hoping to display soon.
My other passion is horses, as well as riding I help a friend that runs a therapeutic centre for children and adults with learning difficulties.
My name is Kiera, I have grown up around birds of prey my whole life.I would often help my parents with manning the birds and rear the babies, I found this very calming.
I have learning difficulties and I find the birds help me feel more confident, relaxed and sociable.
I imprinted my own Barn owl 2 years ago, we have a fantastic bond and I love spending time with her.
As well as working forWide Eyes Falconry I also work part time in a cafe and part time in a primary school.
My name is Jeff and I started volunteering with Wide Eyes Falconry in 2015 after my son joined the club. I have had some experience from helping out another falconer when I lived in Devon a few years ago. As well as Wide Eyes Falconry I volunteer as a Scout leader in Tenterden running two different sections ranging from age 6 to 10 years old as well as helping out with older children in the other sections.
When I get some spare time I work at a children’s home as well as one of the local primary schools where I offer pastoral care (counselling) for children with a range of differing needs.
For me, helping out at Wide Eyes Falconry is a fantastic opportunity to work with a great team of adults and children at the same time learning more about these magnificent birds of prey.
My name is Kathy and along with my husband Simon I am a volunteer at Wide Eyes Falconry kids club.
Since a young age I have always had a passion for animals and have been fortunate enough to work with dogs for nearly 20 years.
For the last 10 years birds have become a big part of family life as living in the country side in Stalisfield, our garden brings a huge variety of species. Myself, Simon and our sons Owen and Daniel are members of the RSPB and with our touring caravan have visited many of their sites and lots of other fantastic places to see birds in the wild and in captivity.
I also enjoy walking in the countryside and seeing nature and wildlife during all seasons of the year. When I found Wide Eyes Falconry straight away I knew this would be the place for my youngest son Owen would thrive in.
It soon became clear that Luke and his team had a great passion for birds and his dedication in passing on his knowledge and giving hands on experience was obvious.
I am also a keen crafter and enjoy working and making things with children. Becoming a volunteer seemed like a perfect opportunity to be hands on with birds, learn the art of falconry and help the club which gives so much joy to all involved.
My name is Simon and along with my wife Kathy I am a volunteer at Wide Eyes Falconry Kids Club.
For many years I have had a passion for birds, and having a touring caravan has enabled me and my family to travel the country and encounter a wide variety of species. I have always had a specific interest in birds of prey and after my youngest son Owen joined Wide Eyes getting to see these birds up close I knew instantly i would love to get involved and learn more.
I am a full time firefighter and understand the importance of learning and developing skills and having an understanding and respect for what you are dealing with. Within my role at work I engage with a wide variety of people from different cultures and backgrounds and deliver fire safety talks at schools, businesses, homes and the public in general.
With this in mind I offered to be a volunteer to both enhance my own knowledge, learn new skills and help and support others participating in the fantastic world of falconry.
Hi, l am Wendy. During the working week I’m a teaching assistant within a primary school, but once let loose l volunteer with Wide Eyes Falconry. I love the extended family feeling that being part of this club envelopes you in, adults and children alike. It is a pleasure to see the children blossom in their own ways and the confidence this brings for them. And you get to learn about and fly awesome birds xx