Staff at the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre have launched a desperate appeal for towels and facecloths which are vital for the daily care of the seals, hedgehogs and ducklings in their care
In order to prevent the spread of disease, a fresh towel is required every time a seal in the centre’s isolation unit is given medication or food. And as most seals require a long-period of rehabilitation – one seal alone, can get through more than 50 towels, during their stay.
Already this year the centre has cared for 134 seals (49 greys and 85 commons) which means a staggering 6,700 towels have already been used!
The eye-watering figures don’t stop there, even a tiny hedgehog requires a clean fresh face cloth every day as they are used to keep them warm and comfortable. So far this year the centre has cared for 548 and if just one hedgehog requires a cloth each day for just a week – the number used reaches more than 3,800.
More than 3,000 towels have also been used to look after the 437 ducklings who have also been cared this year at the centre.
Alison Charles centre manager at East Winch said: “I know the residents of Norfolk are probably wondering what on earth do we do with all these towels, given we have run appeals like this in the past, but the truth of the matter is we actually get through thousands and thousands of towels every year.
“Whenever possible we wash and reuse them, but we have to be so careful preventing the spread of disease, so sadly in most cases we can only use a towel once – so you can understand how the figures add up so quickly.
“For example we are currently caring for a grey seal called Mrs Frisbee, who was rescued last week by the Friends of Horsey Seals. She had been swimming around with the yellow frisbee on her neck for up to six months. She was brought to us and we have removed the embedded frisbee from her neck. However the likelihood is she will be in our care for at least five months, so she alone may require the use of more than 100 towels during her rehabilitation.
“While the towel might just seem like a common everyday item for many people, for us they are like gold dust and are really important for our day to day work at the centre.
“Sadly though, the generous supplies we have been given have dried up, so I am once again calling on the help of the kind-hearted residents of Norfolk and further afield to donate their unwanted towels.
“We want to stress that we just need old towels, so would urge people to have a look in their cupboards to see if they have a few old ones kicking around that they can send us. In the past people have been so kind and sent us lovely new towels, we once even had 100 new John Lewis face cloths donated, but an old towel works perfectly fine and as we only use most of them once, it’s best to just send over your old ones and it’s also a great way to recycle as well.”
A number of collection points for towels have kindly been set up at Tesco stores in Norfolk, these include the stores on the King’s Lynn Hardwick Estate, in Swaffham and also at Dereham.
The towels can also be placed in a special yellow bin located outside the wildlife centre in East Winch Norfolk.