Colin, the Giant African Land Snail which the environmentally-friendly specialist collections, clearance and recycling company, Waste King, saved last year from being consigned to the ‘great green bin in the sky’ by one of its customers, has become both a teaching aid and a great hit with Sophie Dowling’s class at St Cuthbert Mayne School, Hemel Hempstead.

Last September, having read in a local newspaper about Colin’s last minute reprieve, Sophie, who teaches a Year 3 class at St Cuthbert Mayne School, asked Waste King if her school could ‘borrow’ the snail – and Waste King agreed. So the snail – named ‘Colin’, by the Waste King operatives who had been keeping him in a large glass tank and feeding him a diet of apples, bananas, lettuce and cucumber, with some added cuttlefish to provide some much needed calcium – went to stay at the school, in the care of some 30 seven year olds. He became an instant ‘hit’ with the children.

Waste King’s managing director, Glenn Currie, said: “Although all of us at Waste King are extremely fond of Colin, we couldn’t deny him the chance to see a bit more of the world and to make some new friends – which he has. Besides, it’s great that Colin can help the children develop their understanding of another aspect of looking after this planet: protecting the environment and the creatures that are so valuable in keeping it ‘healthy’.”

Children from Sophie's class with Colin the snail.

Comment: No one would want to condone the needless destruction of creatures – well except for the cat from three doors down the road who likes to stalk the birds in my garden. She’s living on borrowed time, I can tell you – so it’s heartening to see a company like Waste King living up to its promise to recycle as many as possible of the materials (and creatures) it collects. In this case, Colin’s good fortune – to be rescued by Waste King – is having an unexpected positive spin-off in that he’s helping to teach children about the need to take care of our environment and all the creatures that live in it (even – and it pains me to say this – my neighbours’ cat).