Meet the Wadars Team

Wadars has a small team of staff who are supported by more than 150 volunteers.

Our volunteers work with us in many ways including driving, gardening, fundraising, answering our telephones, and fostering our animals; they are a valued part of the Team.

Julie Toben - Chief Executive

Julie has been with Wadars since 2014 and is responsible for the overall management of the charity and for overseeing special projects. For over 20 years, Julie has worked extensively with local, national and international charities.

She has been a trustee with four charities, including Cats Protection. Julie is a member of the Institute of Directors, the Charity Investors' Group and the Institute of Fundraising.

Tracy Cadman - Director of Operations

Tracy joined the Wadars team as Operations Manager in January 2016 and is responsible for the day to day running of the charity’s animal rescue and rehoming service as well as its communications, and volunteer development.

Tracy has more than 40 years’ experience of working in charities, including over 10 years with the RSPCA in Brighton where she started as an animal care assistant and worked her way up to Shelter Manager.

Billy Elliot - Senior Animal Rescue Officer

Billy, who grew up on a farm has always had a love for animals, and has been with Wadars for more than 25 years. As part of the Wadars Animal Welfare Team, Billy plays a key role in the rescue of birds and wildlife, and rehoming of our homeless dogs. Even on Billy's days off he can still be found walking rescue dogs and going out on call-outs from local vets.


Elaine Sinclair - Animal Rescue Officer

Elaine has been involved with Wadars for over 18 years as a volunteer, a Trustee, and more recently as a member of the Animal Welfare Team.

Elaine works part time alongside Billy, and has a particular passion for working with our homeless cats and small animals including rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as rescuing wildlife. She also fosters some of our animals from time to time.

Bunny Duke-Colley - Administrator

Bunny joined the Wadars team in 2011 after previously working in various different admin jobs. She has a Countryside Management qualification from Brinsbury College.

Bunny has a keen interest in wildlife and birds and loves her job and how rewarding it is.

Wendy Blakemore - Receptionist

Wendy originally joined Wadars as a reception volunteer in 2016, and having spent two and a half years helping to deal with enquiries from the public, became our Weekend Receptionist at the start of 2019. 

Wendy's beloved cat Tom was adopted from Wadars. 

Sharon Symons - Finance Officer

Sharon has been working for Wadars as a finance officer since May 2011. Prior to this she was a volunteer fosterer with Wadars of rabbits and guinea pigs.

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her pets, all of whom were adopted from Wadars.

Melissa Clayson - Animal Welfare Assistant

Having previously worked at Wadars in 2022, Melissa returned to join the animal welfare team in May 2024. Melissa's love of working with animals began back in 2010 when she volunteered at a dog rescue, and having since studied for an Animal Management Diploma covering both domestic and wildlife animals, Melissa's career has also seen her as a vet care assistant, and an assistant manager of both a cattery and dog day care.  At home Melissa is mum to two very spoilt guinea pigs!


Emily Cook - Animal Welfare Supervisor

Emily joined the Wadars team in May 2021. She started volunteering, caring for wildlife in Somerset at the age of 16. After completing a conservation degree in Cornwall, Emily recently moved to Sussex where she continued to volunteer for various animal organisations including a wildlife rescue in East Sussex. Outside of work Emily enjoys baking, archery and spending time with her dog Izzy.

Shanice Beard - Animal Welfare Manager

Shanice joined the Wadars team in September 2021 having previously worked in roles including vet nurse assistant, animal instructor and cat care specialist. Before starting her career with animals Shanice studied at Plumpton College and has worked with a variety of creatures both wild and domestic since but always found cats to be the most calming and fascinating species.

Julie Brewer - Animal Welfare Assistant

Having previously worked for Wadars as a rescue officer, Jules rejoined the Team in 2022 and has a number of years' experience of working with a range of animals including domestic pets, penguins, seals, and aviary birds. Having started her career with another rescue in Sussex, before coming to Wadars Jules was a keeper at Drusilla Park near Alfriston. Jules also worked alongside the RSPB as part of a conservation project to increase numbers of Cirl Buntings in Cornwall. Having studied at Plumpton College, Jules has a Higher National Diploma in Animal Science. 

Emma Smith - Animal Welfare Assistant

Emma joined Wadars in May 2022 having studied animal management at Brinsbury College. Emma has a number of pets including four cats and two degus, and is a self-confessed lover of rodents! Before joining Wadars Emma spent time volunteering with another animal rescue in West Sussex.

Katie Poulton - Animal Welfare Supervisor

Katie joined Wadars in January 2022 having previously worked in a boarding kennels and cattery. Katie studied animal management at Plumpton College, and has also previously been a volunteer at an RSPCA centre. 


Matt Thomason - Animal Rescue Officer

Lifelong animal lover Matt joined Wadars in January 2023 and has been working in animal care for over a decade. Matt graduated with a bachelors degree in animal management and has worked in keeper & rescue roles, even spending time out in Africa. Matt has always had a particular love for birds & birds of prey: when not in the cinema, reading or gaming he can be found twitching, looking for his favourite species. 


Carrie Gosden - Volunteer Coordinator

Carrie joined the Wadars team in 2019 as an ad hoc Animal Welfare Assistant. She is a Registered Veterinary Nurse of 40 years’ experience with a special interest in wildlife, small furries and exotic pets. Interspersing her nursing career Carrie has managed a boarding kennels and cattery and for several years lectured in Veterinary Nursing and was Animal Care Team Leader at a college with a large animal unit containing an extensive range of species and specialist reptile house. Carrie also previously volunteered at a wild bird rescue and rehabilitation charity for a number of years. 


Our Board of Trustees

Wadars is governed by a board of Trustees, all of whom are volunteers and bring a wealth of skills and experience from veterinary and animal behaviour to accountancy and business strategy.

Christie McMahon FCL (Chairman)

Christie heads up a specialist training company, which she started in 1993. She was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 1997 and over the years has worked in many places around the world. Her love of animals led her to foster 31 Great Danes, adopting a further 20 of her own over a 41 year period.

She considers herself fortunate to currently be a companion to a Wadars rescued dog called Basil, a little Staffie cross. "He is the best friend anyone could wish for!" she says.


Jill Silk

Jill has been a Wadars Trustee since January 2014 and has been involved with the Charity since 2008. She is now retired having worked in the corporate management world for over 30 years. Having a lifelong love of animals, Jill has shared her home over the years with 13 cats, many rehomed from Wadars, various rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and a Golden Retriever called Molly.

Allison Davis (Treasurer)

Allison has worked as a Financial Controller/Management Accountant mainly in the motor trade and now works in finance for a local stationery supplier. She is proud of her association with Wadars and greatly admires the staff/volunteers dedicated work to rescue and re-home animals in need and to find them the loving forever homes they deserve. Allison has shared her home with many cats and dogs over the years and currently has a much loved and spoilt Miniature Schnauzer named Harry.


Keith Walder

Keith has been a Wadars Trustee for a number of years and has worked with animals of different kinds for more than 30 years. Keith’s has a real passion for dogs, and in particular ‘dogs with jobs’, having trained dogs for shepherding and also for search and rescue. Through his work with Wadars, Keith’s main objective is to ensure that animal welfare and responsible pet ownership is always top of the agenda.

Sue Stirling (with Milly the cat) February 2020

Sue Stirling

Sue joined Wadars in February 2016 as a telephone helpline volunteer and she has also been involved with the Charity’s various fundraising activities. Sue grew up surrounded by the family pets - dogs, rabbits, a stray cat, budgies and guinea pigs, which she shared with her late brother, Chris Smee, who was a devoted volunteer for Wadars for many years.  Benjie, Sue’s New Forest pony, was her greatest love.  Sherry, a Welsh Springer Spaniel and Cassy, a ‘rescue’ cat joined her own family, and a few years ago her daughter, Sarah, adopted a Wadars’ cat called Milly, who often comes to stay with Sue when Sarah is off on her travels.  Sue was welcomed onto the Board of Trustees in October 2019 and feels very fortunate and proud to be working with Wadars’ amazing team of staff and volunteers.