STAFF from a Buckinghamshire wildlife hospital had a whale of a time yesterday as they embarked on a mammal medic training day.

Ten employees from St Tiggywinkles, in Haddenham, threw on their wet suits and jumped into the Watermead Riviera on Sunday, as they rushed to the rescue of a 'stranded' inflatable whale.

The whale, which weighed more than one tonne, was carefully rescued by the trainee medics and released back into the wild to cap off a fun day of training and team building led by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Hospital founder Lez Stocker said: “The team was learning what to do if a whale, dolphin or a seal became stranded in the coast.

“We have a lot of experience in dealing with birds and otters, but not with the larger mammals, so following this training course we can now go anywhere around the country to help out with the rescue of larger mammals.

“I was a member of the team which helped to rescue the animals during the infamous oil spill in Shetland which was terrible, but science has moved on so much since then, that we'd be well prepared if something similar were to happen now.

“But it was a fantastic day for the team, they learnt some vital skills, had a lot of fun and it also brought them closer together – so it was a great exercise.”

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