If you were wondering why an inflatable Orca was being held aloft and paraded around Muster Green, Haywards Heath today, then read on.
Bafta award-winning actress and star of Born Free, Virginia McKenna OBE, co-founder of the international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation, together with the charity’s President, Will Travers OBE, are set to attend this year’s WhaleFest; the largest whale-saving festival in the world, taking place in Brighton starting tomorrow and lasting until Sunday (March 16).
A team from the Horsham-based charity embarked on a ‘WhaleFest Whale Trail’ around Sussex and Surrey today, with Haywards Heath the destination mid-morning.
The plastic whale will be symbolically released into the sea during the festival, and a screening of the award-winning film ‘Blackfish’ will call for an end to the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity. Poignantly it will be 23 years after the closure of Brighton’s dolphinarium in 1991, and the release of its last two dolphins back into the wild.
Making a stand against the exploitation of whales and dolphins in captivity around the world, Virginia said: “I have many fond memories of Brighton, not least our rescue of Missie and Silver from Brighton Aquarium in 1991.
“Between them, they had spent 36 years performing for the public in an indoor pool.
“Thanks to the ‘Into the Blue’ initiative, these dolphins were set free, but thousands more individual dolphins across the world are not so fortunate.
“I am returning to Brighton for WhaleFest, to reflect on the end of dolphin captivity in the UK, and to call on the public and the international community to help us phase-out dolphinaria worldwide.”
For more information visit www.whale-fest.com