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            Hands we're more used to seeing sliding assuredly over keyboards placed a wedding ring onto the appropriate digit of Margo Buchanan on 31 January, the day Wix became a married man. The ceremony was a quiet family gathering, held in a church near his Essex homestead, and the vicar was none other than Wix's brother-in-law. Celebrations spanned 48 hours, with a party for friends taking place the following night at Groucho's in London, attended by all of the Macca band.
            Wix and Margo first met ten years ago when she, a singer-songwriter, booked our musical maestro for a session, and they've been friends ever since.
            Sincere congratulations to the happy couple from all of us at Club Sandwich...

Club Sandwich 62


The international tug-of-war over a beautiful white Beluga whale has highlighted once again man's at times ludicrous inhumanity to the other creatures with which it should be happily co-existing. As executive director of the newly-established charitable trust International Animal Rescue, John Hicks has been closely involved in trying to sort out the sorry saga, and he explains the background to the situation

            Within 24 hours of the first reported sighting of a Beluga whale in the Black Sea, International Animal Rescue had paid for an expert to fly to Turkey to investigate the reports. The whale, now known as Brightness, swiftly captured the hearts of millions throughout the world with his fun-loving nature and smiling face.
            On 19 September 1991 Brightness had escaped with another whale from a Russian naval base in Savastopol, where it is almost certain that they were being trained for military purposes, probably to place mines and bugging devices on enemy submarines. However, with the break-up of the USSR the navy had little use for them. The other whale still has not been seen and is thought to have died.
            In an attempt to stop Brightness from going back into captivity a plan was put together to rehabilitate him back into his native Arctic waters. The Turkish government was very sympathetic to the idea and the Minister of the Environment agreed to meet representatives of the three organisations which were jointly spearheading the campaign — British Divers Marine Life Rescue, The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and International Animal Rescue.
            But at the meeting the minister explained that while he liked the idea of the whale being liberated his government really had to give the Russians the opportunity of taking him back. But, he explained, they would only be given seven days to make up their mind - they probably wouldn't bother. He was wrong - a Russian recovery team seized its chance to enter Turkish waters and re-caught Brightness, jabbing him with drugs to make him docile.
            Still, the capture was horrendous, with Brightness fighting desperately to remain free. Usually when a Beluga whale is caught straight from the wild it gives up without a fight; Brightness had clearly learnt the terrible consequences of capture once before.
            Actually, though, the recovery team didn't have a licence from either the Russians or the Ukrainians to carry out its terrible deed and, as Brightness is being held still in Ukrainian waters, we feel there is still a chance to rescue him from his captivity. We are now making arrangements to see the Ukrainian Minister of the Environment in the hope that he can order the whale's release. Should this be unsuccessful we will be attending a conference in Russia in July at which the long-term future of Brightness will be discussed.
            Regretfully, we are also aware of plans to make Brightness the star attraction in a mobile dolphinarium that can be towed around Black Sea resorts in the hope that holidaymakers will pay to see this poor creature being forced to perform pathetic tricks. It is a fact that captive whales and dolphins live only about one third of their normal life expectancy, and many not even this long. The deprivation of all the normal stimuli from highly intelligent creatures such as these must be one of the worst forms of torture man can inflict on these remarkable animals.
            Thanks to the support of celebrities such as Paul and Linda, Carla Lane, Elkie Brooks and many others we are able to maintain the pressure for the release of Brightness and all other intelligent creatures being kept in appallingly inadequate conditions merely for the "sport" or misuse of man.
            But, surely, such support should not be necessary in a so-called civilised society.

            ♦ Further information may be obtained from International Animal Rescue, Animal Tracks, Ash Mill, South Molton, Devon EX36 4QW, England.