Meet the team

Management Team


Lesley Browne left Secret World Wildlife Recue at the end of April having achieved her objectives as CEO during her four year tenure: Lesley will be leaving the charity on a sound financial footing and most significantly, now working in a magnificent new and bespoke Wildlife Treatment Centre.

Lesley would like to thank those donors, volunteers and staff who supported her during her time at the charity, with particular gratitude to the Secret World Wildlife Rescue Founder, Pauline Kidner, who taught Lesley a wealth of knowledge about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Lesley wishes Pauline and the charity all the best for the future as she moves forward to new adventures and challenges. 

Pauline Kidner

Charity Founder and Advisor

Pauline founded Secret World Wildlife Rescue after diversifying the family farm into a visitor experience. Pauline has thirty plus years’ experience working with wildlife and is widely recognised for her skills in hand rearing newborn animals.

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.


Laura Benfield

Head of Animal Care

Laura joined Secret World Wildlife Rescue in 2015 as Head of Animal Care Services, and before that was a volunteer with us 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.


Daniel Harding

Finance Manager

Daniel started working at Secret World at the beginning of 2017 as the Charity’s Finance Officer. He has since moved on to dealing with all of the financial aspects of the charity; working closely with the Board of Trustees and the Secret World team to ensure that the charity remains financially secure and is able to meet its future needs.


Elizabeth Mullineaux

Scientific Advisor

Liz is one of only a few veterinary specialists in wildlife medicine, with 25 years’ practical experience, and helps train and advise our animal care staff.

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



Chris Stenlake

Chair of Trustees

Chris is the charity’s Chair of Trustees and also Honorary Treasurer. He is retired as a Chartered Financial Planner and lives in Exmouth, Devon. Chris is married to Sue and has three adult children and four grandchildren; the family home is also shared with a one-eyed rescue ginger cat called Chivers. He is interested in walking, reading, railways (both model and heritage steam) and investments. Chris is also the Treasurer of a Business Networking Group in his local area.


Dominic Phillips


Dominic is a veterinary surgeon with 20 years of experience in British wildlife veterinary treatment and rehabilitation.  After training as a Zoologist at the University of Bristol, he completed an MBA in London and worked in international business and consultancy before re-training as a vet at the University of Edinburgh.  Dominic’s veterinary career has covered farm animal, companion animal and wildlife clinical practice. 

Having been a partner and director of a veterinary hospital and practice in Somerset for 15 years, Dominic is now combining his work in British wildlife with a post-graduate Master’s degree programme in Conservation Medicine at his old vet school in Edinburgh.


Roger Branton


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 now retired 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.


Liz Hughes


Liz has taught in special needs schools in Somerset for many years and continues to work as a tutor. Her belief in the power of the natural world to engage children and create lifelong learners who care about the environment stems from her own lifelong interest in nature. She has previously worked in publishing and book retail, where she developed strong editing and proofreading skills and gained experience of management and marketing. Liz enjoys exploring, observing and reading about the wilder places in the world, as well as drawing, gardening and trying to play the keyboard.


Wendy Goodwin


Born and brought up in Somerset, Wendy has a good knowledge of the local community and native wildlife and has been aware of the work of Secret World Wildlife Rescue (SWWR) for many years. Since 2003 when Wendy and her husband moved to the Somerset Levels, they have been involved with SWWR, calling upon the charity to rescue, treat and release injured and distressed wildlife (mainly swans) around their home.

Wendy is an experienced Social Worker specialising in safeguarding, and currently works in mental health services. Wendy has joined the Board of Trustees, having recently come to the end of her nine-year term serving as a Trustee with another local Charity. Wendy can provide Secret World Wildlife Rescue with professional safeguarding advice, as well as oversee, monitor and evaluate safeguarding adherence in line with local guidelines and national legislation including safe recruitment practices and developing internal Safeguarding Policy and Procedure.


Marie Negus


Marie has a background in fundraising, community engagement and education with two music charities, SoCo Music Project and Evolve Music. She has a strong portfolio of fundraising success from a variety of sources and has experience in impact measurement and programme development that work across a range of areas and priorities. Marie is a Clore Leadership Programme Alumni and a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, having achieved the Certificate in Fundraising.

She has a great passion for wildlife and the natural world, enjoying the countryside at every opportunity, whether that’s foraging to make preserves/wines, taking her dogs for a walk, photography, or turning her hand to crafting inspired by nature. It is hugely important to her mental health and wellbeing. She is delighted to have joined the Board of Trustees in November 2020, whereby she looks forward to offering expertise and support to further the vision of Secret World Wildlife Rescue.


Chris Pawson

Trustee (co-opted)

Dr Chris Pawson is a psychologist and academic with expertise in child psychology, human-wildlife interaction, and conservation education. In the last 15 years Chris has worked for H.M Home Office, and in several universities where he conducts research and teaches psychology and non-human animal behaviour.  Chris is passionate about the protection and preservation of wildlife. As a current member of the committee for the Lundy Field Society he is currently involved in a range of conservation education projects, and initiatives exploring human-wildlife interaction. Most recently his expertise in the field of gull behaviour and human-wildlife interaction has been deployed in schools outreach, and work with several local government councils. Chris tries to get to Lundy island and out on his paddleboard as often as possible.