Ninety-eight year old shares seashells from the seashore

Millicent Rich shows Carla Dray (Education Officer) and James Woodward (Head of Education) the donated artefacts at Drusillas Park SUS-160703-130005001
Millicent Rich shows Carla Dray (Education Officer) and James Woodward (Head of Education) the donated artefacts at Drusillas Park SUS-160703-130005001
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Drusillas Park has received a large donation of rare sea artefacts, to use to educate students visiting the zoo.

The gift was made by 98 year old Millicent Rich, who in the 1950s was the only female importer of shells and coral in Europe.

Millie visited Drusillas in 2015 as a guest at the zoo’s 90 year anniversary party.

Inspired by the visit, she returned this week with her daughter, Shula, with items from her collection.

Head of education, James Woodward said: “These amazing artefacts will enhance our education sessions and will be used to teach about conservation.

“We have an extensive collection of artefacts belonging to land creatures but these items will prove invaluable to help bring learning to life about creatures that live under the sea as well.”

Millie’s fascination with marine mementos began when she worked as an art teacher in London, introducing seashells to her classes to help inspire the children. In 1962, she opened her own shop in Brighton called The Tropical Shell Company, importing shells from all over the world.

Millie also sourced rare shells for museums and collectors and made two British Pathe Pictorials which aired in the 1950s and were featured as part of a BBC4 documentary in 2012.

While Millie may no longer sell seashells on the seashore, her sea life legacy will continue to live on at Drusillas Park.

For more information, call 01323 874100 or visit www.drusillas.co.uk.

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