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South Shields RNLI lifeguards save injured puffin

Lifeguards News Release

An RNLI lifeguard performed a heart-warming animal rescue this weekend at Sandhaven beach.

A RNLI lifeguard in a yellow top and red shorts is holding a small puffin in a red jumper. Besides him, a man is holding a container.

RNLI/Lucas Johnson

RNLI lifeguard Alex Gwynn saves injured puffin

After some rough weather hit Sandhaven beach in South Shields on Friday 25 June, RNLI lifeguard Alex Gwynn discovered an injured puffin whilst monitoring the beach at 5:30pm. Despite Sandhaven stretching for over a mile long, Alex luckily spotted the animal casualty.

The rough weather had created dangerous gale force winds, which is suspected to have caused the puffin’s injury. When Alex arrived, he found the small animal being attacked by numerous crawlies and insects.

Despite the bird continuously pecking at the lifeguard, Alex secured it in his RNLI jumper and carried it back to the base. The South Shields RNLI team stayed on after hours whilst waiting for the RSPB to arrive.

The injured puffin was transported to a nearby RSPB rescue centre.

Lifeguard Supervisor Nick Campbell congratulated the lifeguard’s efforts to help the injured puffin:

‘Although the RNLI is best known for its efforts in rescuing people, animal rescues are sometimes part of our charity’s lifesaving work as well.

'Aiding or rescuing animals ensures that members of the public don't put themselves in danger by attempting to help.'

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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