Staff at East Winch RSPCA Wildlife Centre held their Christmas party at last after the post-tidal surge seal pup crisis forced cancellation.
The hard-working staff and volunteers were too busy providing round-the-clock care for the lost pups to celebrate.
But thanks to a £500 donation from the Daily Mirror, the Ffolkes Arms in Hillington was able to host a ceilidh last Friday.
The Norfolk wildlife centre had been caring for 100 pups since December following one of the biggest rescue projects the charity has ever seen.
The seal pups had washed up along the shore following violent storms and they were too young to survive without their mothers.
In a bid to give the seals a fighting chance of returning to the sea, staff and volunteers worked round the clock to provide an epic rehabilitation program. Many of the pups were in need of intensive care and hand-feeding which was as frequent as every four hours during the first few weeks.
Without hesitation staff and volunteers rallied round to provide the essential care needed – as a result, events were cancelled including the Christmas party, the hospital was rejigged to make space for the extra seals, and staff worked all the extra hours they could.
The RSPCA has a close working partnership with the Mirror after they launched their first ever Animal Hero Awards last year.
Alison Charles, manager at the centre said: “We were really surprised and humbled when we were told the Daily Mirror wanted to throw us a party. We had seen cancelling our Christmas party as just par for the course.
“At the end of the day the animals are always our first priority and this was an unprecedented time for us - everyone just got down and did the job in hand.
“Staff were mentally and physically exhausted from the gruelling work shifts to provide the care for the seals – and of course it was more than worth it to see the first batch released back to the wild. But we had a lovely party and it was really nice to say thank you to all the staff and volunteers for their efforts.”