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UK's oldest penguin celebrates another birthday

Pat the penguin is the UK's oldest female African penguin

Meet Pat, a record-holding penguin from Living Coasts zoo in Torquay.

She's the oldest-known female African penguin in the country, and today she's celebrating another milestone, as she turns 37. This also makes her the second-oldest penguin in Europe.

Staff at the zoo are celebrating the occasion with a blue birthday cake, but it's unlikely any non-penguins will want to share a slice; it's made out of sprats.

Pat and her penguin friends had a sprat-cake to enjoy

In her 37 years Pat has had nine chicks, and even has three great-grand penguins living with her at Living Coasts. She also has a toy-boy; her partner Eddie is just 13 years old.

She is a very sweet penguin, quite happy to approach keepers for fish, and once she has decided she has had enough will head back to her burrow holding a sprat in her beak. At the moment she is freshly moulted. She is a very healthy and happy-looking bird, hopefully she has many more years to come!

– Penguin keeper Chris Dunn

It shows that the English Riviera is great for us more mature types!

– Phil Knowling, Living Coasts

Criticism for ceramic poppy seller in Devon

Poppies at the Tower of London Credit: PA

War veterans have slammed a Gumtree seller in Devon who is flogging a Tower of London ceramic poppy for £450 - 20 times its original value.

The 888,246 poppies from the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red project were sold to members of the public for just £25, with proceeds going to charity.

But one of the buyers, from Torquay has now put their poppy on sale for £450.

War veterans have described the sale as "shocking" and "revolting", with the listing on Gumtree making no reference to any charitable donation.

The seller, who is not named on the site, says: "I appreciate there is a very high demand for these and it may seem inappropriate to set the price so high, but I'm sure in years to come it'll be worth a lot more than whatever was paid on here."

I find it absolutely scandalous and revolting. It is hard to believe anyone would be so heartless.

To take advantage of something that is for charity, and designed to remember the war dead, is just shocking.

The field of poppies was remarkable and really touching. So many people I spoke to were greatly moved by the tribute.

It showed the scale of the death toll and touched many people's hearts. I really am astonished by this news.

– Ken Sturdy, Chairman, South Devon's Normandy Veterans' Association

The mind boggles really. I don't understand how someone could sell a charity item for their own gain.

– Tony Rider, Association secretary

Despite the outcry, Gumtree confirmed the sale was not in breach of its terms and policies.

Our position is as long as our users are in legal and physical possession of a poppy, we will not be prohibiting their resale on Gumtree.

This is in accordance with our publicly available terms and policies, and reflects our position for the resale of any other piece of art.

– Spokesman, Gumtre


Stranded seal pup is saved

The seal pup stranded on rocks at Torquay Harbour Credit: Living Coasts

An injured seal pup has been rescued after being stranded at Torquay Harbour.

The youngster was spotted on the seaward side of Haldon Pier at lunchtime on Monday (29 December). As the animal's mother was not in sight, keepers at Living Coasts rescued the pup with the help of towels and a tarpaulin.

She was taken to the RSPCA centre at West Hatch near Taunton. Staff there identified her as a girl, weighed her and named her. Shubunkin - who at 11 kilos is considered small for a grey seal pup - is now showing signs of eating and, if everything goes smoothly, will be returned to the sea soon.

The adorable penguin who made friends with a scuba diver

A scuba diver from Devon has acquired an unusual swimming partner in the form of an 18-month-old penguin.

Yoyo the penguin took his first swim at just three months old.

Over the last year he has formed a friendship with Derek Youd, the diving supervisor at Torquay's Living Coasts.

Mr Youd runs the zoo's penguin dive experience and over the last year the pair have formed a very close friendship.

Police hunt Torquay man wanted for recall to prison

Gary Ward was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

Police are looking for a man from Torquay who is wanted for recall to prison after breaching his prison licence conditions.

Gary Ward who is 32 was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving,

He is believed to be in the Exeter area and also has links to Torbay and Ilfracombe.

Officers say people should not approach him but ring 101 quoting police reference EN/148763/14.


Blue plaque unveiled in Torquay for comedian Peter Cook

Peter Cook was born in Torquay in 1937 Credit: PA

Peter Cook, who was a pioneer of British satire in the 1960s, had a blue plaque dedicated to his memory in Torquay today.

The comedian, described by Stephen Fry as “the funniest man who ever lived”, was born in 1937 in Middle Warberry Road, in the Wellswood area of Torquay. He died in 1995.

Cook’s daughter, Daisy, and his sister, Elizabeth, were at today's ceremony, which was organised by Torbay Civic Society.

Search for elderly man seen in sea off Torquay

A search has been taking place off Torquay after an elderly man was spotted by the sea wall along Meadfoot Sea Road. Emergency crews were called at 9.30pm last night when a passer-by said he saw large waves crashing over the wall, spotted the man briefly before he disappeared from view.

The Torbay Coastguard Rescue Team, two lifeboats and the rescue helicopter from Chivenor searched the area but found nothing.

The Coastguard says they are waiting for an update from the police and unless any new information comes to light, the search has been stood down.

Fears grow for missing yachtsman

Jeffery has not been seen since mid October Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Police are growing increasingly concerned for a man last seen in Torquay.

Jeffery Carl Hewitt has been missing since 16th October.

He had recently bought a sailing boat called "the Louise", which was moored at Torquay. He is believed to have left the harbour between 10 and 11am on 16th October.

The next day "the Louise" was found washed up on a beach west of Lyme Regis, with nobody on board.

Devon and Cornwall Police ask anyone with any information about Jeffery or who might have been in contact with him during his time in Torquay to contact them.

FT: Alfreton Town 4 - 2 Torquay United

Torquay United have slipped out of the Conference play-off places after losing 4-2 at second-from-bottom Alfreton.

Former Gulls striker Karl Hawley gave the hosts an 18th minute lead. Louis Briscoe equalised on the half hour, but Alfreton went in at half-time ahead after a goal from Tom Shaw.

Briscoe levelled for a second time, but Paul Clayton and Hawley added further goals for Nicky Law's side.

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