A roar of approval for big cats prize

19 December 2018
For Lisa Cruttenden, winner of Demelza’s Moments That Matter competition, spending time with her husband and family is what makes for her most precious memories. And having recently enjoyed her prize of a weekend at The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden, she now has a whole lot more to add to her store.

Lisa says she couldn’t believe it when she was announced as the winner of our Children’s Hospice Week competition on Facebook Live. “My mum told me and I was shaking when I saw my name,” she said. “I said to her I was just disappointed I couldn’t take her as well as my husband Simon but then I realised it was for four people, not two!”

As well as mum Pat, Lisa also shared her prize with her mother-in-law, Maggie. “They have done a lot for me and Simon so it was nice to be able to give something back,” she said.

Lisa, who lives in Walderslade, knew about the Big Cat Sanctuary and its work in supporting the conservation of endangered species from an open day visit. But getting the chance to get up and personal with the wild animals as special guests was something else.

They enjoyed a personal tour and got to enter the small cats’ enclosure. Meals were eaten in the conservatory with only a pane of glass separating them from the lions, and after a night in a luxury lodge they woke to the sound of them roaring. The absolute highlight, though, was feeding tigers and a snow leopard by hand.
“They have been trained to take the food very gently so we were able to feed them chicken legs through the fence – it was amazing!

“I can’t thank Demelza and the Big Cat Sanctuary enough for giving us this incredible experience.”

Lisa, who has dressed up as Peppa Pig to entertain young visitors at Demelza Kent open days, is now also helping the Big Cat Sanctuary too by being a front of house volunteer.

The keen supporter also helped boost our funds by buying her wedding dress from our Canterbury bridal shop. “I saw the wedding dress stand at the open day on my break from being Peppa Pig. The dresses were gorgeous.”

Encouraged to visit the shop, she was impressed by the selection. “I tried on several dresses with my mum and the very helpful lovely lady who worked there at the time, who made me feel so at ease.”

Lisa found the perfect strapless white embroidered gown for her and Simon’s wedding in Mallorca last year. “Now I recommend the Demelza bridal shop to people all the time.”