Pup named ‘Judi Dench’ arrives at Cornish Seal Sanctuary in time to meet her legendary namesake

Monday, 02 October 2023

A grey seal pup rescued from the Cornish coastline has been named ‘Judi Dench’ – and even managed to meet her namesake on the very same day.

A grey seal pup rescued from the Cornish coastline has been named ‘Judi Dench’ – and even managed to meet her namesake on the very same day.

Dame Judi Dench, one of the country’s most beloved cinematic jewels, was visiting the area on Friday, 22nd September, with her family when she stopped by the sanctuary in Gweek, near Helston.

At the same time, the charity, which works to rescue up to 70 seal pups from around Cornwall each winter, also took in a new pup. The pup, estimated to be around three weeks old, was admitted to the site’s hospital, after being found dehydrated with several wounds on Millook Haven Beach.

The Sanctuary’s fundraising manager, Leanne Attwood, says: “It was like fate – it just so happened that, as Dame Judi and her family explored the Sanctuary, this pup was admitted to our Seal Hospital.

“With our actors and actresses naming theme this season, we knew we just had to name her after Judi Dench, who was already on our list of name ideas.”

While known for roles in films including the likes of the James Bond franchise (1995 - 2015) and Mrs Brown (1997), Dame Judi is also a keen animal lover, with a historic soft spot for sanctuaries and wildlife centres.

Leanne adds, “Judi was absolutely an absolute delight and so gracious about the naming. She was so excited to be able to meet pup Judi and explore behind-the-scenes of our Seal Hospital.

“Our animal care team is now working hard to nurse the pup back to full health, with hopes of successfully releasing her back to the wild as soon as possible.”

While Judi the pup recovers in the hospital, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is fundraising to cover the costs of caring for the many pups who will make it through the doors this season.

On average, it costs £2,000 to rehabilitate a seal pup to full health, not including any special surgeries or extended veterinary treatment needed.

To help support the sanctuary this winter, you can donate to the Pup Wish List Appeal, or find other ways to support the team here.

Seal pup disturbance

The charity is also reminding locals and visitors that it is very common to see pups on beaches at this time of year, and disturbance can be a real issue for them, often leading to abandonment by their mums, which can be fatal.

Those who do see a pup on the beach are advised to keep dogs on leads and children away, and not to approach or chase the seal back into the sea.

If you believe the pup is in distress or needs medical attention, you can find the signs to look out for and what to do next. You can also call the Cornish Seal Sanctuary directly on 01326 221361 or British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546 for more help and advice.

To find out more about the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and its mission, click here.