British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2007-06-28 15:43:32

Braeburn School Talk

Bev Drayton and myself arrived at the school at 12:45pm and checked in at reception, with our visitor badges pinned on we headed for one of the classrooms to setup the gear ready for the talk. With this being my first time at one of Bev's school talks I had no idea of what was to come or what I was supposed to be doing.

But as ever Bev was totally sorted and knew what to do, we set on with the tasks of inflating the dolphin and the seal (although we did manage to have the pump on suck instead of blow and made the dolphin even thinner than it was before we started). And getting any air to stay in the seal after pulling out the hose and before getting the bung in place is a tricky job, but we did get it to look like it had been run over in the end. (only joking).

Bev then set up her power point and went for full screen mode, while I emptied the contents of my medic bag out onto one of the tables, like a proper display thingy, ooh get me.

Any way down to the important stuff.

The two classes were students aged 10 & 11 all year 6 pupils, and those who must be obeyed (the teachers) Mrs Sheppherd and Mrs Humble who we must say a very big thank you for letting us do the talk.

The talk was all part of the students project on marine life and will involve a visit to the sea life centre on monday 2nd July.

I was given charge of the computer slide show and Bev was out front doing the presentation, I am not sure how she keeps them enthralled for more than an hour but believe me enthralled they all were, all 50 of them. She had them in the palm of her hand all the time, it was an experience I will not forget in a hurry.

I was so concerned that I might blow it that at first I was not really listening to the words I was just waiting for the signal to show the next slide. Then without me noticing at first, Bev started to mention things that we had taken a part in and I started to feel more at ease with the whole thing. It was like I suddenly felt like I was back in my own depth and could talk (if needed) about them as experiences I've had.

Bev made it very easy to for me to join in and I tried to get across the feelings you get when your one of only a few people who other people (the public) look to when there is a situation to deal with.

The students were keen to ask questions and listened intently to the answers, I got the feeling that a lot of this information was really going in, and that there were going to be a lot more hits on the BDMLR web site as a result.

We told them about the bigger rescue attempts made, like the Thames whale and the whale at Maryport along with the video and photos, but also, the small rescue attempts made at places like Hunmanby gap because these are places the kids are likely to go and could relate to them better, and also you can see them going home and telling mum and dad all about it, after all it's right on their door step.

We went through a demo of how we jump a seal, and there was a sharp intake of breath as I came down on top of our seal model, Bev had to explain that I was not trying to strangle the seal, just trying to hold it firmly enough so neither the seal or myself got injured.

Bev then explained how we go through the checking of the seal and what would happen next if the seal required further treatment.

We covered the stranding of cetaceans and how we try to keep the stress of the animals as low as possible while keeping them wet and protected from the elements.

We ended the talk with a question and answer session, and believe me these young people had a whole lot of questions they wanted to ask, and the questions showed they had been paying attention to the talk.

One question had Bev thinking very hard for a while, it was "what has been the worst thing that has happened to you when on a rescue."

Bev's reply was how upset she had been when coordinating the stranding of a small group of porpoises at Spurn point and having to wait for the water level to drop enough for the medics to be able to get to the poor animals, and being a couple of them died in the meantime.

I have to say that overall the day was well worth the time off work, and would be happy to do others in the future, (work permitting) and to anyone who might be thinking about maybe trying it, I’d say GO ON, DO IT you will not regret it one bit.

It gives you a great sense of achievement knowing your helping others to better understand what's out there and what to do if they need your help.

Once again, we would like to thank the school for giving us this opportunity, along with Mrs Sheppherd and Mrs Humble, and a special thanks to the students, and good luck with your marine project.

And who knows, there may be one or two future medics out there somewhere.

Bev Drayton (my 'boss') and Bruce Pawson (Filey medic)