We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jim Fiddimore of Iden Boarding Kennels. Jim meant a lot to many different people. He was a father, a grandfather, a fisherman, a soldier, a parish councillor for 22 years, a businessman, a DIY enthusiast, a hoarder (of almost anything that might one day be useful – much of it still is), an eccentric in the extreme but above all he was an animal lover.
He worked with animals for most of his life after starting as kennel boy at Hackbridge Quarantine station aged 14, breaking only from this training to complete National Service in Egypt in the 1950s. Back in the UK, he progressed eventually to become superintendent of what was then the largest quarantine station in the world. He then moved to Sussex and founded Iden Boarding Kennels & Cattery 50 years ago. Here he gained a reputation for quality boarding for family pets but also worked with the RSPCA who later honoured him with a Certificate of Meritorious Service and became the local police and council dog warden.
He always had an eclectic mix of animals at the kennels as well as treasured pets with proper owners. There were always some strays, some homeless waifs and some chosen pets of his own. Jim started the tradition that we still maintain today. We are incapable of turning away a sorry case although we have yet to offer sanctuary to some of the creatures he cared for in the past, among them several swans, young foxes, stray peacocks and on one occasion, an escaped Rhea found wandering in Peasmarsh one Sunday afternoon.
Jim’s love of nature and the outdoors resulted in his buying several acres of the ancient Iden woods and turning it into a sanctuary for wildlife. He was very proud of his stewardship of the woodland recognising the importance of preservation and donating young trees to be planted elsewhere, such as at Buckswood School and the John Ryan Memorial Garden in Rye. The woodland also served Mallydams Wildlife Centre with many of their re-habilitated hedgehogs released back into the wild under Jim’s careful eye.
Jim was able to live at home until he was 86 with help from his daughter and granddaughter and the services of the wonderful carers at Bluebird Care. His battle with Parkinson’s disease was bravely fought but eventually he went to stay at Roselands care home in Brede where he was able to continue to watch the natural world and the changing seasons and the wild birds on the feeders whilst sitting in the sweeping gardens there. Jim died peacefully in his sleep, thus ending a full and active life, lived well and with great enthusiasm and unfailing generosity.
Image Credits: Bernie Fiddimore .