Caring for animals in their time of greatest need was Nettie Trigg's greatest passion in life and her devotion to them went "far above any expectation", her family said.

The great-grandmother, who set up the Small Animal Rescue Centre in Felixstowe, has died aged 81.

She had a lifelong love of rescue animals and cared for rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, chinchillas, mice, cats and dogs.

READ MORE: Felixstowe: Nettie hoping to find owners of tiny white bunny

She also became known as the 'Hedgehog Lady' and took in many wounded and sick hedgehogs, nursing them with one and two-hourly feeds and taking great pleasure in their recovery - and sorrow when they didn't make it.

Educating others was another passion of Nettie's and she visited primary schools to talk to the children about how to care for the creatures.

She grew up on her parents farm at Waldringfield before her love of horses took her to Exmoor, where she worked as a groom and met her future husband David.

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Subsequently, the "great cook" ran a B&B and antique shop in Duxford with her second husband Phil before moving to Felixstowe 25 years ago to care for her mum and work in a local care home.

The rescue centre was set up during this time and her kindness was borne out by some of the animals she cared for, including a rabbit born with deformed limbs pointing in all the wrong directions.

But her daughter-in-law Carol Brewer said this kindness did not stop at animals as she donated food to food banks and would give any leftovers to the Mistley Place Park animal sanctuary in Essex.

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Nettie also had to overcome heartbreak of her own after losing her son Phil to cancer aged just 46, while she also experienced her own health issues, including ovarian cancer.

Carol said: "Her kindness didn’t stop at animals. She was the kindest most caring person. Going out of her way to help anyone."

She was also adored by her great-grandchildren - Immy, six, Olly, five and one-year-old Daisy.

"She leaves a huge hole in the hearts and lives of us all," Carol added.

Her funeral will be held at Seven Hills Crematorium in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich on October 30 at midday.