Youths help to run major attraction

Thomas Boothman, 16,  and Jessica Bickerstaffe, 13, clean the shark tunnel as a Nurse Shark obligingly takes a nap. BELOW: Mr Sutcliffe with (from left), Thomas Boothman, Jessica Bickerstaffe, James Thompson and Dominic Best.

Thomas Boothman, 16, and Jessica Bickerstaffe, 13, clean the shark tunnel as a Nurse Shark obligingly takes a nap. BELOW: Mr Sutcliffe with (from left), Thomas Boothman, Jessica Bickerstaffe, James Thompson and Dominic Best.

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THERE’S something fishy going on at the Sea Life Centre... some of the staff look rather young.

Although these four youngsters are wet behind the ears, they have been given the chance to help run the attraction for a week.

Mr Sutcliffe with (from left), Thomas Boothman, Jessica Bickerstaffe, James Thompson and Dominic Best.

Mr Sutcliffe with (from left), Thomas Boothman, Jessica Bickerstaffe, James Thompson and Dominic Best.

And they’re really making a splash.

The team have dived head first into the work, feeding the fish, caring for unwell creatures, serving customers in the shop and helping present demonstrations.

Dominic Best, of Weymouth Road, Marton, said: “It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

“It’s been good feeding the fish and learning all about them.”

Marine biologists at the attraction said they have been impressed with the team’s enthusiasm and knowledge, saying they would be happy to take them on again.

Martin Sutcliffe, senior aquarist at the centre, added: “It has been eye opening for us to see what they like. It’s all well and good us running the centre as adults, but we need input from kids too.

“They’ve asked interesting questions and offered good ideas.”

The centre has said it is looking to act on suggestions made by the group, including making displays more interactive and having an educational talk in the popular shark tunnel.

Mr Sutcliffe added: “We wanted to inspire these guys.”

Jess Bickerstaffe, 13, of Barnes Drive, Cleveleys, said: “It’s a different experience, something I’d never normally get to do.”

The team have said they are all keen to pursuen careers or volunteering opportunities to work with fish and animals in the future.

Jess and Dominic were joined by James Thompson, 11, from Blackburn, and Thomas Boothman, 16, from Padiham.