A murmuration of starlings on the somerset levels.

Management Team

Lesley Browne – CEO lesley.browne@secretworld.org

Lesley joined Secret World in December 2017. Coming from a health background, Lesley brings a strong leadership portfolio, having managed operational, personnel, governance, financial and income generation functions in her previous roles. Lesley has also been a Trustee for a dog charity so is familiar with the challenges charities face with regards to balancing the operational demands and financial limitations.

Pauline Kidner – Charity Founder pauline.kidner@secretworld.org

Pauline founded Secret World Wildlife Rescue after diversifying the family farm into a visitor experience. Well known for her love of badgers, Pauline has become synonymous with wildlife rescue and continues to work for the charity, supporting the wildlife and public relations functions. 

Vacant – Head of Finance


Samantha Hannay – Head of External Relations samantha.hannay@secretworld.org

Samantha’s passion for wildlife began at an early age. She has kept herself involved with animals and conservation in a voluntary capacity, as well as professionally with the RSPCA. Having worked in both corporate and charity environments, Samantha brings a combination of marketing, training and fundraising experience to Secret World.

Laura Benfield – Head of Animal Care laura.benfield@secretworld.org

Laura joined secret world in 2015 as Head of Animal Care Services, and before that was a volunteer with secret world and other wildlife organisations whilst completing her degree in conservation. Laura’s role is to ensure that the animal care team are able to provide the best care and welfare to the wildlife we treat from admission through to release.


Michelle Barrows trustees@secretworld.org

Michelle is a veterinary surgeon specialising in zoological medicine (veterinary care of non-domestic animals).  She is Head of Veterinary Services and Conservation Medicine at Bristol Zoo Gardens, responsible for the veterinary care and welfare of the zoo’s diverse collection of animals.  She is also a clinical teacher at the University of Bristol Veterinary School where amongst other things, she teaches veterinary nursing of birds, exotic pet medicine and a post graduate course on wildlife care and rehabilitation.  Her experience of wildlife rehabilitation comes mainly from 7 years working in South Africa where she regularly dealt with a range of wildlife casualties from birds and tortoises to monkeys and antelope.  She particularly enjoyed working closely with VulPro, a vulture rehabilitation organisation helping to treat injured vultures, mainly casualties of powerline collisions and poisoning.

Roger Branton  trustees@secretworld.org 

With his wife Joan, Roger has been involved in animal rescue for over thirty years, most recently caring for grounded bats.  Roger and Joan believe wildlife rescue to be a way of life, a passion they share.  Roger, a Quantity Surveyor who worked on the Bluebell Barn project, in between working full-time, dedicates his time to caring for animals and relishes his role as Trustee which he started in 2017.

Bel Deering  trustees@secretworld.org 

Bel has worked in animal welfare for the RSPCA for twenty years. Her first role was as the education officer at RSPCA Mallydams Wood, and she became the manager of the wildlife and education centre there in 2003. In 2015 she took up the role of manager at RSPCA West Hatch, near Taunton, looking after both the wildlife centre and animal centre. Bel has a particular interest in education and prevention work, expertise in setting up and running animal welfare education projects, and of course, a great love of animals and nature.

Michelle Whitham Jones  trustees@secretworld.org 

Michelle is in her final year of a PhD Anthrozoology at the University of Exeter. Prior to returning to academia, she worked in special education for 25 years. Michelle held senior leadership roles for the last 16 years of her career and has extensive knowledge of strategic and operational management. She has a passion for ethical conservation and wildlife protection. Michelle and her husband share their lives with 5 horses and 2 cats. 


Elizabeth Mullineaux BVM&S, DVM&S, CertSHP, MRCVS, RCVS Recognised Specialist in Wildlife Medicine (Mammalian) liz.mullineaux@secretworld.org

Liz worked for Quantock Veterinary Hospital for 17 years as Secret World’s main clinical vet. In 2012 she took on the role of Scientific Adviser to Secret World. She is responsible for animal care and veterinary policy, helps run courses and liaises with other professional organisations.