Lynn’s MP has paid tribute to the work of two local charities after paying visits to their respective headquarters.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham helped to feed the seals as he was shown round the RSPCA wildlife centre at East Winch on Friday morning, before heading back to Lynn to meet volunteers at the town’s Food Bank.
His visit to East Winch came just two days after the first group of the orphaned seal pups which were taken there following December’s tidal surge were released back into the wild.
Centre manager Alison Charles, who showed Mr Bellingham around the site, said: “He came to congratulate staff on the work they have done with the seals and see all the other work that we do.”
The centre took in more than 100 orphaned seal pups in the aftermath of the tidal surge on December 5, and are still looking after most of them as efforts to prepare them to go back out to sea continue.
And, while Mr Bellingham was pleased to report he wasn’t bitten as he helped with feeding time, he also hailed the “amazing” efforts of volunteers to nurse the pups back to health.
He said: “It was an inspirational visit. We have got a national facility here which we have every reason to be proud of.”
Mr Bellingham also praised the work of the Lynn Food Bank after meeting its officials on Friday afternoon.
The facility, which is based at the Purfleet Trust, is currently feeding around 200 families every month, though managers say demand has stabilised in recent times after soaring during 2013.
Mr Bellingham said the Food Bank’s management committee had done a “superb” job to help people cope in times of crisis.
“This really is the voluntary sector reaching the parts that the state perhaps cannot reach. We are incredibly grateful to them.”
Project co-ordinator Kevan Crane said volunteers had hoped to use Mr Bellingham’s visit to discuss the main reasons why people have to use Food Banks and what could be done to help the most vulnerable people in society.
He said: “To have the support of the local MP is very encouraging and helped his understanding of what we do and how we operate.”