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'Right old dump' is reopened

BIRD lover, television presenter, humourist and author Bill Oddie visited the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory's new £330,000 field centre on Sunday to snip the ribbon outside the front door.

The distinguished visitor said: "I have never seen anywhere transformed as much as this. It used to be a right ramshackle old dump.

"I drank the worst cups of tea in my life at this place and I am astonished and thrilled to be here. This is a wonderful building in a fantastic area."

The presenter of television's Bill Oddie Goes Wild first discovered the bird observatory in Sandwich Bay in the 1960s and has since been a regular visitor. He was at the observatory in June filming orchids for his next series of programmes, due to be seen in the New Year.

On Sunday he introduced a blackcap to young bird enthusiasts, including Hannah Dodson, aged 10, who joined the observatory as a member in January.

Chairman Mike Walkey said the building was paid for with the help of a bequest from Florence Shirlaw, from Walmer, who left about £100,000 to the trust.

* Individuals, schools and organisations interested in visiting the new Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust can phone 01304 617341.

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