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Tribute for a greatly missed bat carer

29 October 2015

Jan Ragg prepared as always for searching a chalk mine for hibernating batsMany of you will already have heard of the sad loss of Jan Ragg, who died suddenly back in August.

There are only a handful of people in the UK who have the experience and knowledge of bat rehabilitation that Jan had, and many people relied on her for an expert view on all sorts of bat care questions. She emailed with people all over the world, and the BCT Bat Care Network list is full of members who trained with Jan.

The Essex Bat Helpline is a model of regional bat rescue: not only can any bat in Essex be matched with a carer, but Jan worked to organise a system of drivers which means that every bat is collected from where it is found. This has no doubt led to the identification of hundreds of bat roosts in the county, as well as saving thousands of bats.

One of Jan Ragg's informative displays

A meticulous record keeper who worked as a scientist for most of her life, Jan was committed to interpreting and sharing her bat care data. Knowledge sharing was a passion of Jan’s, and the display pictured below is just one example of that.

Jan often had a large number of bats in care As if the sacrifice of entire summers to sleepless nights of baby bat rearing wasn’t impressive enough, Jan spent her winters helping with conservation work on the Epping Ongar Railway. In this update you can see a picture of Jan at work re-upholstering seats in one of their engines.

Jan's funeral took place in September at a beautiful wooded burial site in Essex. During the packed out service morners could see birds, squirrels and dragonflies in the woodland beyond the gathering hall, and the speakers painted a touching and amusing picture of Jan as a motorbike riding, hockey playing, bat caring chemist who would never rest while there were people or animals she could help. As the burial ground abuts a railway, the locomotive was able to make an appearance as Jan's family and friends said their last goodbyes.

Thank you Libby Ranzetta of Bury St Edmunds Bat Rescue, one of Jan’s many protégés, for this video of Jan releasing a bat back to the wild. A great way to remember this wonderful woman.

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