A hotel open just for our animal friends

editorial image

KIND-HEARTED school children were helping animals fifty years ago this week. ANDREW LEVETT looks back.

A HOTEL just for animals opened at a Hartlepool school in 1963.

Ten pupils at King Oswy Secondary Modern School got together to look after lost or injured creatures, feed them, and try to find homes for them.

The animal hotel was a greenhouse attached to the school’s science laboratory.

Inside were boxes and cages made during the woodwork class, scraps of food, ointment and clean pieces of cloth.

The hotel was the idea of Maria Forcer, aged 12, of Stephenson Street on the town’s Central Estate.

Marie told the Mail: “I have always liked animals. I thought it would be nice to help them.

“When they are hurt they just have to lie on the ground or limp about.

“It must be awful for them if they have no home.”

Marie’s friends liked the idea and the 10 pals visited the hotel at playtime, dinner and 4pm. They were helped by science teacher Mr Foster and history and French teacher Mrs Woods.

Kittens, rabbits, mice, pigeons, sparrows and a hamster were all boarded at the hotel, with the guests on the Mail’s visit also including a grass nsake and white mice.

The grass snake was a troublesome guest as it trespassed on the school gardens and nibbled a number of plants.

One of the mice went walkabout as well, scaring everybody when it turned up in a classroom.

Besides Marie, the pupils who ran the hotel were Denise Jones, Anita Veart, Carol Cooper, Lynda Skelton, Peter Oxenham, Tony Pounder, Raymond Wilkinson, Derek Osgood and Maurice Dixon.

They bought food and other supplies with their pocket money and tried to find homes for the animals when they were better, or in the case of birds let them fly away.

Do you remember the animal hotel? Contact Andrew Levett by emailing andrew.levett@northeast-press.co.uk or write to him at Hartlepool Mail, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX.