Memories of 50 years of Seal Rescue!

Cornwall's National Seal Sanctuary is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend…with an appeal for memories and photographs from half a century of dedicated rescue work.

It was from his little beach café in St Agnes in 1958 that Sanctuary founder Ken Jones made his first rescue, of an abandoned two-day-old pup that refused to go back in the sea.

Now 83 and not in the best of health, it is likely that the only blot on the weekend's celebrations will be Ken's absence for the first time during any major milestone for the attraction, now based in Gweek near Helston.

"He will be sorely missed as we celebrate the work that he began. He will certainly be in our thoughts and we wish him a speedy recovery," said current Sanctuary manager Sarah Vine.
Memories Of 50 years of Seal Rescue!
Since Ken's first rescue efforts and gradual assembly of half-a-dozen or so permanent residents in pools he built around his café, the Sanctuary has rescued an estimated 2,000 seal pups.

It has also become the flagship for a number of satellite seal rescue stations at Oban in Scotland; Scarborough, Hunstanton and even Blankenberge, Belgium.

There are still permanent resident grey seals which were either too sick or disabled to return to the wild, or which became too dependent on human care.
The number of these is ever diminishing however, as the Sanctuary's expertise at rescue, care and rehabilitation, continues to grow.

Ken Jones's pioneering work which led to him being christened the 'Seal Doctor' will be referred to regularly over this weekend, as the Sanctuary's modern-day seal medics lead visitors through the entire process from rescue to eventual release back into the wild.

The anniversary has prompted many recent visitors to recount to staff their memories of visits in years past.

"That gave us the idea of trying to build an archive of memories by getting people to write to us or e-mail us with stories and if possible, pictures, from their Sanctuary visits over the past 50 years."

Subject to the response the Sanctuary may mount an exhibition of some of the letters and pictures it receives, and include a selection on its web site at
Cover of Seal Doctor book written by Ken Jones!
Issued by The National Seal Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Rachael Vine on 01326 221361
Press Release date: 21st May 2008

Click here to go back