Volunteers carry on Pelican Man's work
By EMMA O'NEILL
LANCE FERRIS had planned to spend yesterday trying to rescue a large loggerhead turtle entangled in some fishing wire at Evans Head.
In his tragic absence, a group of Australian Seabird Rescue volunteers took up the challenge, determined to continue the work of their mentor and friend who died at the weekend.
Lance had tried to rescue the turtle last Wednesday, but after seven hours pursuing the injured animal, was forced to reschedule the rescue attempt and bring in the Sea World Research and Rescue team.
Volunteer Brett Singleton, of Ballina, spent last Wednesday pursuing the loggerhead with Lance. He said that despite wet conditions Lance never complained.
"When we were finishing up without rescuing the turtle, he kept saying 'I just hate being beaten'," he said.
Mr Singleton said Lance showed this type of determination with every rescue.
"If he wasn't able to rescue the animal, he would invent some sort of gadget to help him," he said.
Lance's latest gadget was a remote-controlled net that he had just perfected last week.
Mr Singleton said Lance would have been happy with the volunteer turnout at yesterday's turtle rescue.
"He was always trying to get more volunteers," he said. Volunteer for five years, Kathy Southwell, of Alstonville, was at the turtle rescue yesterday and said Lance had taught her everything she knew about rescuing animals.
The SCU coastal management student said Lance was an amazing teacher, a great listener who everyone respected, and the only man her 16-year-old daughter would ever listen to. "There are a lot of volunteers passionate about continuing his work," she said.