Fakenham firm Johnsons Apparelmaster gives 1,000 towels to seals and hedgehogs at RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre

Andy Tyler-Smith from Johnson's Apparelmaster hands Jo Mead one of the towels the firm has donated.

Andy Tyler-Smith from Johnson's Apparelmaster hands Jo Mead one of the towels the firm has donated. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A laundry has donated 1,000 towels to help poorly seals, hedgehogs and other creatures in a Norfolk wildlife hospital.

Jo Mead, at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre, wraps a grey seal pup in one of the towels. Pict

Jo Mead, at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre, wraps a grey seal pup in one of the towels. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Fakenham-based Johnsons Apparelmaster had a customer who wanted to change their entire stock of towels.

Manager Nigel Roberts didn't want to see them go to waste. And when he heard the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre was appealing for donations, he called to ask if they wanted a lorryload.

'We think that donating is a much nicer way to recycle the towels,' said Andy Tyler-Smith, area manager for Johnsons Apparelmaster. 'Otherwise they would just go to the textile house, shredded and destroyed, and when Nigel called and mentioned the appeal on the radio we knew that we could help.'

Staff and volunteers at RSPCA East Winch are currently treating animals ranging from tiny bats to 300lb grey seals. Patients also include more than 300 hedgehogs.


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A fresh towel is needed every time a seal is given medication or food. A single animal can get through more than 50 during their stay at the centre. Young hedgehogs also need a clean towel or face cloth every day to keep them warm.

'The towels will be used for all the animals not just the seals,' said centre administrator Sue Levings. 'Seals are actually the smaller group of animals we have, this time of year it's the hedgehogs.'

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Piles and piles of white cotton towels were unloaded from the Johnsons truck and placed in a walk way overlooked by eight seals peering up from their tank outside.

'It's the ultimate recycling isn't it?' Said centre manager Alison Charles as she eyed up her latest donation. 'Rather than being destroyed they will be put to good use here.'

Both seals and hedgehogs are kept at the centre until they have gained enough weight for release.

Earlier this week, 100 'hogs were packed off to new homes in West Norfolk.

Opened in 1992, the centre grew from an emergency animal shelter set up in Docking in the late 1980s to help seals infected by an outbreak of phocine distemper virus.

Towels, blankets and sheets are always needed, along with face flannels. They can be left in yellow bins in the entrance to the centre, on Gayton Road.

Old newspapers, shoes and textiles can also be left for recycling.

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