Animal lover Tia Alderson had headed out with her mum Katy Alderson to do some litter-picking on the beach at Whitburn on Saturday, January 22.
But the Fulwell Junior School pupil ended up doing even more for the environment than she had planned when she supported the rescue of a seal pup
Tia, 11, spotted the animal at the top of the beach near the embankment and noticed that the seal looked poorly.
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Seals are Tia’s favourite animal and she rushed to the pup’s aid, also warning dog owners at the beach not to let their pets close to it.
Tia, who is part of her school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) club, said: “I saw he was underweight and just sat there and thought what if the seal died from exhaustion if I leave him there? So I had to do something.
"Seals are my favourite animal so when I saw a seal in need, of course I’m going to help him.”
Mum Katy, 43, rang both the RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Meanwhile, the pair stayed with the seal until volunteers Heather and Sarah arrived.
The pup was measured and taken to St Mary’s island in North Tyneside.
Katy, a science teacher at Burnside Academy, said: “She stood like a little guardian and warned everybody to stay away from the seal.
"She named him George and she stood there talking to George and telling him everything was going to be okay.”
"It was just wonderful for Tia, because she loves the environment. She’s a little environmental activist to be honest.
"I call her my Greta Thunberg because she loves the environment so much.”
Tia, who also founded her own club to help the environment called Save Our Earth, added: "I felt so grateful that I had that experience of helping a creature and I was really glad to see him in his new home, that he would be happy and he would live a nice life.”
The RSPCA has been contacted for comment.