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Seals in East Winch RSPCA Wildlife Centre on Countryfile

73 year old Michael Kennedy has spent the last 11years supporting Hunstanton cliffs. ENGANL00120130103130619

73 year old Michael Kennedy has spent the last 11years supporting Hunstanton cliffs. ENGANL00120130103130619

The valiant efforts of RSPCA workers in helping nurse orphaned seal cubs back to health following last year’s tidal surge featured on the BBC’s Countryfile programme.

East Winch Wildlife Centre was one of the main features of Sunday’s programme as presenter Ellie Harrison learned how the seal pups were faring four months on from the devastating tides.

West Norfolk was in the spotlight after the team also filmed at the RSPB Nature Reserve at Snettisham and followed Hunstanton pensioner Michael Kennedy as he strives to protect the cliffs at the grand age of 76.

Wildlife centre manager Alison Charles and her team were caring for more than 100 seals which had washed up on the Norfolk coast in the days after the tidal surge.

Mrs Charles said: “After the tidal surge we had so much public support so it was nice to show our work to the people who supported us.

“After the tidal surge we had donations from around the country, including Bradford and Lancashire. They may not necessarily see local newspapers so hopefully they saw the programme and know where the money was spent.

“It was nice to be part of Countryfile. We are wildlife rehabilitation centre so we fit in with the programme.”

The centre is still caring for 64 seals but the Countryfile cameras were able to follow the release of Pancake, a female seal, at Sutton Bridge in February.

Staff are trying to get the female seals up to 40kg and males to 45kg before releasing them back into the wild.

Mrs Charles said: “I am hoping to do another release in a few weeks time.

“We released eight on March 20 and found a common seal with lung worm which we are now treating.

“We had help from Marks and Spencer in clearing our visitor centre, which was housing the hedgehogs.”

Ellie and the Countryfile team also followed Mr Kennedy during his morning routine of creating a rock defence for the cliffs at Hunstanton.

Mr Kennedy goes down to the beach every day between 10.30am and 12.30pm to build the defence. He was joined by Ellie and the television cameras on one morning.

Mr Kennedy said: “I really enjoyed the experience. Ellie is a lovely girl.

“I am protecting the base of the cliffs and I also do it for exercise.”

 

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