Sheila Dibnah, widow of the late Steeple jack Fred Dibnah, delighted staff by visiting the National Seal Sanctuary, paying tribute to a rescued seal pup which had been fondly named by staff after her late husband.

Mrs. Dibnah first contacted the Sanctuary after reading an article describing the rescued seal pup had been named ´Fred´ by the site´s assistant, Craig Hardman.

Craig named the pup after his long standing hero whom he has idolised since childhood, having originated from Little Lever, just a stone´s throw away from Fred Dibnah´s hometown of Bolton.
Sheila Dibnah and Craig Hardman
Sheila Dibnah feeding the seals Mrs. Dibnah had planned a visit to Cornwall in order to meet ´Fred´ earlier this year.

Unfortunately, the seal was released into the wild after completing rehabilitation programme at the National Seal Sanctuary just before Sheila had chance to visit.

However, another seal pup was soon rescued by the National Seal Sanctuary after being abandoned by his mum on Portreath Beach. Sheila was invited to name the new pup in loving memory of her husband.
Mrs Dibnah said: "I chose to name the seal pup Hippo. One day I walked into the parlour room to see Fred stoking the fire wearing his trench coat. I joked that day that he looked like a baby hippo from the back, and the nickname just stuck!

"I´m delighted that both pups have been named in Fred´s honour. Fred would have enjoyed a real chuckle about this and said something like: ´You barmy lot, warra yer gone and done that fer, like, eh?"....

Upon Sheila´s arrival at the Sanctuary to visit her beloved ´Hippo´, she was presented with a photo montage by Craig Hardman, and then enjoyed a VIP tour of the Sanctuary.

Operations Manager at the Sanctuary, Eileen Keeling, said: "Fred was an amazing man and I am pleased that we gave Sheila a little bit of happiness by naming the pup after ´her´ Fred."

Sheila added, "I´m so pleased ´Fred´ got back into the sea without any trouble and now I´ve managed to meet Hippo. Bless them, there is just something so adorable about seals, they melt your heart, don´t they?´
Sheila Dibnah with one of our resident seals
Press release issued by: The National Seal Sanctuary
For more details please contact: Kaylie Finn on 01326 221361
Date: 2nd November 2011