The trustees of British Divers Marine Life Rescue have recognised the outstanding contribution of 10 BDMLR Marine Mammal Medics, including Westbrook couple Sheila and Jez Stone.
The Medics were chosen for special recognition for their dedication to BDMLR, their work with marine animals and the contribution they have made to ensure the charity thrives.
Jez and Sheila were among those to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Marine Mammal Rescue Award.
The BDMLR said: “Jez and Sheila are a mainstay of the East Kent BDMLR team. This couple are a powerhouse. They attend rescues, help at courses and fundraising events, give talks at schools and even overnight seals when the weather is too bad to relocate.
Sheila and Jez joined the BDMLR in 2016 and have been a regular sight at rescues ever since – even taking seals into their home overnight when necessary!
Sheila said: “ I was always active in animal welfare when I was at college more than 40 years ago. We were watching Whale Wars with Sea Shepherd on TV and Jez did some googling to see if we could do anything and BDMLR came up.
“Jez went on the website and saw there was a training course in Margate, so we signed up and did our training. Since then we have helped to organise and run further training courses and Jez is now a trainer.
“We both took part in a mass stranding exercise in Dorset a few years ago which involved over 60 medics from around the country. Jez went and volunteered at Gweek seal sanctuary in Cornwall to learn advanced first aid on seals and consequently became an advanced medic. He is due to fly to Scotland in July to do training with the Large Whale Disentanglement Team.
“I am the Kent coordinator for events and fundraising and will shortly be training to become an out of hours coordinator.
“We have had numerous seals overnight, mainly while waiting for a rehabilitation space or just to rehydrate and rest before releasing to a quiet beach.”
The BDMLR is an organisation dedicated to the rescue and well-being of all marine animals in distress around the UK.
If you spot a seal that may be in distress call BDMLR on 01825 765546. Please do not let dogs approach it.
BDMLR is holding a marine mammal medic training course in Margate on June 20 and a further one on July 18.