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Simon seals his popularity

By Alan Smith
Simon the Seal. Picture by Tony Thorogood
Simon the Seal. Picture by Tony Thorogood

The worry is over.

Simon the seal will not spend the rest of his life as a lonely bachelor marooned in the upper reaches of the River Medway.

The seal, which has attrated a huge amount of interest since he was first spotted at Allington Lock, near Maidstone, has shown he is perfectly able to cross through to the tidal downstream section whenever he wants.

It appears he uses the underwater sluice gates which are opened at high tide to pass through from one reach of the river to the other.

He was spotted happily frisking around downstream of the lock on Tuesday of last week by Peter Russell who was out for a country walk. Two days later, he was seen again, still downstream, by Alf Johnson of Bambridge Court, Springfield, who said: “He seemed a very happy playful thing.”

Several people, including Ros Duddell, secretary to the Friar at Aylesford Priory, have also spotted Simon fishing in the river near the priory.

But over the weekend, he was seen upstream of the lock towards East Farleigh.

Mark Pritchard, from the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, which has its base at Allington, said: “He seems to have no problem swimming against the flow even when it is at its peak. In fact he seems to delight in swimming around by the sluice gates, probably because the fishing is good there.”

If you have seen Simon or taken good quality pictures of him email messengernews@thekmgroup.co.uk

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