From ponies to seals: Animal rescues over the years

Seal rescue 1993 Norfolk

A seal gets fed some fish after being rescued in 1993 in Norfolk by the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust - Credit: Archant

Norfolk is one of the most important places in the country for wildlife, with its diverse range of habitats bringing many species to the region.

Having such a variety of wildlife also means that over the years there have been many occasions where people have had to step in and save an injured or distressed animal. 

These fascinating pictures from the archives remember times when animals have been rescued in the county. 

Horse Rescue Fund Norfolk Suffolk

Shirley Walbancke of the Horse Rescue Fund with a rescued horse - Credit: Archant

Shirley Walbancke was an important part of the Horse Rescue Fund, which has been rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming horses in distress in Norfolk and Suffolk for over 30 years. 

Horse Rescue Fund Beccles Norfolk

A picture of Shirley Walbancke, taken in 1987 at the Horse Rescue Fund. - Credit: Archant

They continue their work to this day at their HQ in Beccles at Woodstock farm.


You may also want to watch:


Many of their horses go on to live happy lives competing at shows, and spectators are left unaware of the hardships faced by the horses earlier in their lives.

Phoenix receiving treatment at Redwings Horse Hospital in Aylsham.

Phoenix receiving treatment at Redwings Horse Hospital in Aylsham. - Credit: Redwings

Norfolk is home to another successful equine-welfare charity, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, in Hapton near Norwich .

Recently Redwings gained national attention after the terrible story of Phoenix, who had suffered awful burns in an attack. Thankfully Phoenix is on his way to recovery and seems to be doing well. 

Most Read

The RSPCA work tirelessly to ensure animals to treat injured animals and promote animal welfare. In 1988, this box of kittens came into the care of RSPCA Norfolk after they were abandoned. 

Rescued cats by RSPCA Norfolk

A box full of adorable kittens were rescued by the RSPCA in 1988 - Credit: Archant

Norfolk is the home of many different bird species, with a number of migratory birds travelling to the region each year.

Swans are a common feature of rivers, lakes and ponds in the county and they can often get up to mischief and need rescuing. 

Swan rescue norfolk

Len Baker of Swan Rescue saves a handful of baby cygnets - Credit: Archant

Here, Len Baker of the Swan Rescue Service, is pictured with a handful of cygnets which he rescued in 1988. 

The Norfolk coast is home to one of the largest seal colonies in the country. Unfortunately for the seals, they can often become trapped in discarded netting or be injured while out at sea. 

seal rescue Blakeney 1989 Norfolk

A seal being rescued in Blakeney on the north Norfolk coast in 1989 - Credit: Archant

They are incredible creatures that deserve respect.

This past year there have been several incidences of seals being harassed by the public on Norfolk beaches.  

Hopton Wildlife Hospital Norfolk Suffolk

A seal that had been rescued in 1995, who was cared for at the Hopton Wildlife Hospital - Credit: Archant

There have been several seals who have got caught in plastic toys or discarded fishing netting on Norfolk's beaches this year. We need to care for our animals now more than ever and it is sad to see so many in distress. 

Do you remember any memorable moments when wildlife has been rescued in Norfolk?

Join our Norwich Remembers group on Facebook to share your stories with others. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter