Meet The Team
Bob - Charity Founder
Since a boy, Bob was always interested in the wildlife around him, and ready to care for any animal brought to him. He joined the scouts at age 11, and later became the leader of one of the largest scout groups in the country. After leaving school in 1960, he joined the family motorcycle business.
Bob left to explore the world in 1969, travelling overland by Land Rover to Australia, eventually finding work in Perth. Here he met his future wife and the pair were soon married in 1972.
Retiring from the family business at age 45, he then went into politics, as well as becoming governor of the village primary school and chairing the Rare Breed Survival Trust for 12 years.
In 1989 Bob took the first goats into care from the RSPCA, with numbers increasing to 25 over the next ten years. He finally secured Buttercups charity status in 2003, and when he isn't off sailing his boat, remains heavily involved to this day.
Gower - General Manager
Extended Diploma Animal Management
Gower first joined the Buttercups gang in 2011, as part of a work experience placement. It soon became clear that he had caught the 'bug' and fell in love with all things goat!
In 2016, Gower made the difficult decision to spread his wings further afield with aspirations to travel the world. The furthest he got was junction 7 of the M20, where he started a new role as part of the nursing department at a tier three animal hospital; gaining experience in assisting the veterinary team with routine procedures and emergency out of hours care. Over the next four years, Gower progressed throughout the hospital assisting with customer service and finance, later becoming a member of the Management Team.
In January 2020, as if by fate, the calling of the countryside and bleating goats brought Gower back to the sanctuary.
"It was an invaluable experience working at such a fantastic veterinary practice but returning to Buttercups has definitely felt like coming home and now, as the General Manager, I am here to stay and assisting the Charity, broadening the horizons on the way."
Katie - Sanctuary Supervisor
BSc International Agriculture
Katie began at Buttercups in 2010, when she completed her school work experience and got the goat bug! She then continued to volunteer regularly whilst studying for her degree.
Livestock has always been part of her. She began working at young farmers at the age of 11, where she cared for two goats named Tonic (Alpine) and Immie (Saanen), who were well known for breaking out the paddock and venturing into the feed room! This gained her lots of livestock experience, which inspired her to study Agriculture at Hadlow College in 2012.
Katie began working full time at Buttercups in September 2017 and became heavily involved in the fostering scheme, which today cares for an additional 120 goats outside of the sanctuary, which she is solely responsible for. She was also promoted to the very first Sanctuary Supervisor in august 2020.
Ben - Sanctuary Assistant
BSc Animal Welfare & Behaviour
Ben joined Buttercups in September 2019, after two years studying at Hadlow College and three years at the University of Chester. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in June 2019, and is now responsible for the guardianship scheme, coordinating Buttercups’ wonderful volunteer team, as well as running the @ButtercupsGoats Twitter page.
He cares greatly for all of the Buttercups herd like they are his own, however he has a particular soft spot for a Toggenburg called Juliet and an Old English Feral named Riley.
Outside of Buttercups, Ben has recently become a father to a baby boy born in July 2021. He also has two cats, both of which came to him via connections at the sanctuary!
Sam - Sanctuary Assistant
National Diploma in Animal Management
Sam started as a volunteer at Buttercups in 2011 and has been with the sanctuary ever since! Over the years she has been involved with rescues, dental & medical care (including routine vaccinations), as well as running the Buttercups Facebook Page.
She has always been passionate about animals and aims to dedicate her life to helping them. Sam adores each member of the herd, which have become family (humans included!). She has a particular soft spot for Tarnie, Pebbles and the lovely Donald. There have been many more goat friendships over the years, the first being a beautiful cross breed named Marnie.
Outside of Buttercups, Sam is still animal mad with a husband, three aquariums and a cat to look after. She also enjoys gardening, swimming and creating her own recipes.
Richard - Sanctuary Assistant
BA 3D Design
Richard joined the Buttercups family in September 2016. Although having no previous experience with caring goats, he has thoroughly enjoyed learning all about these characterful animals. Employed primarily for his DIY skills, he has risen to all the challenges that come with working at the sanctuary, including a temporary roll as assistant manager. Now happily back in the role of Sanctuary Assistant doing what he enjoys the most. Caring for all the animals and fixing things that goats break, which is just about everything!
Prior to joining the team, Richard spent 15 years as a lighting designer and freelance model maker, winning various competitions with his painting skills. Richard is also the "keep fit" member of the team, always trying to encourage others to join him for a run after a hard day's work!
Cathy - Sanctuary Assistant
BSc Zoology & Environmental Studies
Cathy feels as though she was born in wellies! Passionate about animals all her life - her childhood was spent helping local farmers, riding ponies, walking dogs and watching local wildlife. After a degree in zoology, she pursued every opening in animal care that came her way.
She went through animal nursing training but felt she wanted a more "outdoorsy" life, so went on to work with rare farm animals, progressing to work for the RSPCA, Hadlow & Canterbury College animal centres and then into zoo work, working with some of the most dangerous & rare animals on the planet.
Cathy feels she has "come home" to Buttercups, returning to her first love of farm livestock. She never stops learning, asking questions and working hard to look after these beautiful and misunderstood animals.
Matt - Sanctuary Assistant
BSc Animal Conservation & Biodiversity
Arrived as a student of Hadlow College, February 2013, and never left! Has since been a part of several rescues, perhaps most notably the rescue of John, resulting in the founding of The John Appeal. Matt has also been responsible for the writing of the quarterly Buttercups newsletter, which has an audience of several thousand and is sent to all corners of the globe.
Can often be seen in the company of Anglo-Nubians, Princess & Marmite, or the Saanen cross, known as Daisy, and is greatly attached to all three! First bonded closely with another Anglo-Nubian, named Wilfred, who sadly passed away in October 2017.
It’s fair to say that Matt has come to see Buttercups as a second home, and the herd as family! Outside of Buttercups, his dream is to become an author, and has his debut book ‘Wrapper the Rabbit: Adventures of Autumn’ currently in production.
Sammy - Open Day Assistant
Level 2 Diploma Animal Management
Sammy first joined Buttercups during her time at Hadlow College, where she was studying Level 2 Animal Management. She chose to complete her work experience hours at the sanctuary and enjoyed it so much that she stayed on as a volunteer afterward.
Several years later, Sammy is now a part-time member of staff, mainly focusing on our open days but also helping out with all-things goat related. She is a much loved part of the Buttercups family and the wonderfully helpful and happy character than many of you will know from the tearoom!
In her spare time, Sammy enjoys art, video game and is a big fan of terrible jokes….
Sue - Membership Administration & Gift Aid Co-ordinator
Sue has been involved with the sanctuary since she became the guardian of David & Gordon in 2009, and was part of the volunteer team until she became a member of staff in July 2017. She is now responsible for the membership and Gift Aid administration.
In recent years, two of our biggest and gentlest goats, Jeffers & Gazover, have become very fond of Sue. They will go running whenever she appears, and can often be seen peering over the office door, hoping for a fuss or maybe even a banana!
Sue is a much loved member of the team, and is a caring, cheerful and slightly crazy individual. When not working hard in the Buttercups office, she enjoys woodwork, textile craft and spending time with her grandchildren.
Claire - Voluntary Finance & Administration Assistant
Claire first became involved with Buttercups fourteen years ago as a foster parent to two of our large, floppy-eared goats. Many goats later, she is still fostering and still loving it! During her time at the sanctuary she became a Trustee and is currently Hon. Secretary to the Trustees.
When Claire retired from full time work, she started volunteering for Buttercups twice a week, helping out in our office. For many years she was our chief banker, along with running our guardianship scheme, as well as handling lots of paperwork which she continues to do today!
Claire’s favourite thing about Buttercups is being able to watch the goats gaining confidence and forming friendships with goats and people. If she were to describe the sanctuary in one word, it would be ‘Magic’.
Debbie - Sanctuary Assistant
A lifelong animal lover (especially cats and goats), Debbie started volunteering at Buttercups when her circumstances changed during the pandemic in August 2020. What started as just one morning a week soon became two, followed quickly by three. Since then, Debbie has fallen in love with all the goats, particularly Ben, Donald and Juliette, and became a full-time member of staff in June 2021.
In her spare time, Debbie enjoys watching and listening to music. She also produces pointillism portraits of animals and people, along with some goat photography.