Dead whale attracts crowds at Old Hunstanton beach

Crowds brave bitter weather to take a look at sperm whale which washed up in Norfolk on Christmas Eve

It might not be everyone's idea of a great day out for sight-seeing, but violent hail showers and blustery winds did not stop crowds arriving in Old Hunstanton to look at a dead whale yesterday.

The body of the sperm whale, washed-up close to the cliff-top car park at Old Hunstanton, has proved to be a ghoulish tourist attraction over the Christmas holidays.

Despite appalling weather yesterday afternoon there was a steady procession of visitors taking a closer look at the whale which washed-up on Christmas Eve and remains high up the beach.

Although believed to have been dead for some time and decomposing, children were taken to see the whale and have their picture snapped close to it.

Large crowds arrived to see the animal, which is near the high tide mark, close to the Lifeboat Station and LeStrange Arms, when it first appeared on Saturday and there are no signs of interest abating.

Whales are occasionally found dead on beaches around The Wash and it is thought the sperm whale had died at sea before being washed-up with a large gash running along its belly.

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A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said it may have been the same whale which had been seen dead on the RAF's bombing range on the other side of the estuary, at Holbeach, some weeks ago.

Scientists from the Zoological Society have already taken samples from the animal.

It is believed that the remains will have to be removed from the beach as the body is now too high up to be washed back into the sea by the current tides. It cannot be buried where it is and will probably be taken to a landfill site by contractors.

Mr Geoff Needham, spokesman for the local RNLI, said he had seen coaches arrive over the last few days with people wanting to see the animal.

'I suppose we are used to it, but for a lot of people it is the only chance they will have to see a whale so there has been a lot of interest in it,' he said.

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