Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Villagers delighted after installation of life-size statue honouring much-loved goose

A life-size statue of village goose famed for photobombing wedding pictures and patrolling the village pond has been unveiled at his old haunt this weekend. Toulose goose Godfrey was a stalwart at the village pond in Writtle, Essex, for decades until he was attacked by a gang of aggressive ducks and died at Thurrock's South Essex Wildlife Hospital in April last year.

To commemorate him, villager Bob Hibberd set up a fundraising drive which raised £500 to craft a life-size clay statue, which was unveiled on Saturday. Bob said: “I think this will bring some closure to the villagers who were upset at Godfrey's death. Because he was so old, over 30, people grew up with him from being in pushchairs all the way through to adulthood, and he was a real character.

“He used to chase people around, so while he was a figure that was feared by some, others loved him, and it is testament to that, that we were able to raise £500 to create the statue." Godfrey, who some think lived until the age of 45, was ousted from the picturesque pond in January 2015 after being beaten up by Indian runner ducks, understood to be domestic pets dumped there. He died from his injuries three months later. “We were pretty devastated because he was such an old boy," added Bob, 70, who has lived in the village for the past 19 years.

“When the ducks arrived, he was in a position where he was very, very vulnerable." Writtle Parish Council had granted permission for the statue to be placed on the island in the village pond last summer, with Amanda Reid, from Ceramics on the Hop in Rumsey Row, commissioned to create the model. The replica statue is made of 30 kilograms of clay, standing 23 inches tall and 26 inches in width from Godfrey's chest to his tail feathers, and will see the beloved goose cemented in his “traditional" island position.

There's a news video here.

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