Wattisfield artist Ray Brooks creates replica whale for World Wildlife Fund campaign

Politicians in Westminster were greeted with a sight for 'shore' eyes when a large grey western washed up outside the Houses of Parliament with a little help from a Suffolk artist.

Wattisfield man Ray Brooks spent a month creating the giant replica of a western grey whale, measuring 32ft long and 9ft high, which moored up on the River Thames outside the seat of government to promote a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) campaign to protect whale breeding grounds.

The WWF hoped the activity might persuade a London meeting of financiers to locate a planned oil rig away from important whale breeding grounds along the coast of Japan.

Using a studio at Henry Watson's Pottery in Wattisfield, Mr Brooks used a range of environmentally-friendly materials to create the monstrous sea creature including bamboo, willow canes and carpet felt, while cupcake cases were used to create the barnacles.

He worked with fellow artists Ned Pamphilon and Kieren Wimbush to create Watty, which was towed up the River Thames on a pontoon through Tower Bridge to the Houses of Parliament, where it remained on February 7 before bing taken inland the following day to be displayed at Coin Street Galleries on London's South Bank.

Mr Brooks said: 'Watty the Whale has been a joy to create, is symbolic of the spirit of the Pacific and was a surreal sight to behold in the midst of the East Anglian countryside, let alone London.'

The display was staged in conjunction with events organisation Walk The Plank.

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To see the WWF Youtube film about the campaign, visit www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yWm5s3kvdJU.

The WWF was founded in 1961 and has grown into one of the worlds' largest and most independent conservation organisations, active in over 100 countries on five continents.

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