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Rare sea duck saved after crash-landing in Horsham

The RSPCA was called to collect a rare sea duck (on a list of threatened species) which was believed to have been blown off course and crash landed in a Sussex garden.



The common scoter, which is an all dark sea duck was discovered in a garden at a property in Broadbridge Heath, Horsham, on the morning of November 27.

The male sea duck was unresponsive and did not appear to want to fly, and so the worried caller rang the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby attended and took the bird to the RSPCA’s Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre, in Hastings.

He said: “I was quite surprised when I realised what type of bird this was, and it’s quite an unusual collection for the RSPCA. It’s not a bird I have ever been called to deal with before.”

Richard Thompson, wildlife rehabilitation team manager at Mallydams, said: “The scoter is doing well. He has a small fracture on the top of the keel bone, which was probably caused when he crash landed.

“Fortunately this will heal quite well. We’ve also washed the scoter in order to remove contamination and ensure that when he goes back on the water he is fully-waterproofed. He’s now out in one of pools and is showing great improvement, all being well we hope that we can release him as early as next week.

“I am so pleased that we have been able to rehabilitate him successfully so that he can then be released back to the wild.”

Sadly the UK breeding population of this diving sea duck has declined and it is now a Red List species.

It is also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, being listed under Schedule 1. One of the main threats to this species are oil spills as wintering populations are particularly vulnerable these as well as habitat degradation.

Last year, the animal welfare charity’s 24-hour cruelty hotline received 55,821 calls over Christmas (1 December – 31 December). More than 8,000 animals spent Christmas in our care last year.

This Christmas, the charity is asking the public to support Delivering Kindness at Christmas. To donate, please visit

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Crawley teacher launches new alternative to traditional teaching for 2-7 year-olds

Launched in Horsham at the beginning of July, Reading Rabbits! is a new interactive way for teaching young children.



Ava Labelle wanted to create something that would make learning fun and inclusive for children with all abilities and learning styles. Having been a teacher in Crawley for three years she decided to go it alone with her own phonics learning centre, turning a dream into a reality.

Founder Ava Labelle.

Reading Rabbits delivers interactive phonics classes in what they describe as “a fun, messy learning environment to help shape confident learners.”

Ava says:

“I believe that the enjoyment of learning  should be at the core of every lesson, particularly for the youngest learners.

We offer classes for ages 2-7 and have a unique SEN class with plenty of multi-sensory learning opportunities. Whether parents are looking for the best possible transition into school, consolidation of sounds to support their child’s reading or wanting to get ahead- Reading Rabbits can help them on their journey.”

“There are many tuition centres in the local area, but there are not any that focus purely on the younger years, and the learning styles needed for young children to succeed. Reading Rabbits hopes to fill this gap in the market to provide a fun alternative to traditional tuition.”

“For our preschool classes, children have the opportunity to be fully immersed in play based activities, which focus on the letter sound for that session. Parents are fully involved in the 45 minute classes to share the special moments of phonics learning together and can support their child with that letter sound at home.”

The centre had its first open day in Horsham last weekend which was a huge success.

You can find out more at their website:

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