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Helmsley Birds of Prey handler nominated for national award

A 24-year old from Helmsley has been nominated for the national Guardian Small Business Showcase awards.

George Daltrey is an apprentice bird handler at the National Centre for Birds of Prey at Duncombe Park. The award aims to recognise and celebrate the rising stars in small businesses, and George was nominated by the centre’s director Charlie Heap.

George took a summer job at the Centre in April 2015, working in the shop. However, he started volunteering with the bird staff immediately, and quickly proved he had a strong work ethic. Soon George was working in the shop for two days a week and volunteering with the birds for the other five. In September George joined the bird staff full-time, helping providing cover whilst the centre’s curator was in Nepal working with endangered vultures. George has now enrolled on an animal care course with the College of Animal Welfare to further his knowledge and career.

Charlie Heap, director at the National Centre for Birds of Prey, explains: “George is a grafter. His easy-going manner, both with the birds and the visitors, is a real hit. He has always shown a true eagerness to learn and to improve.

“His bird skills are now significant. In December 2015 he started to train a white-tailed sea eagle. He already flies a bald eagle to a high standard. This particular eagle had never been trained and had been in an aviary for 20 years – so it was a real challenge. However ‘Atlantis’ is now flying free and on demonstration. This is a real achievement and one that many experienced falconers would have failed at. While George has worked here for nearly a year, he has never taken a sick day, nor even any annual leave! That’s commitment”

The winners of the award will be announced at a ceremony in summer 2016.

To find out more about the National Centre for Birds of Prey visit www.ncbp.co.uk