A harbour town in Somerset, famous for its ties to an albatross, is looking to erect a bronze statue in honour of yet another bird. Residents of the West Country town of Watchet are coming to terms with the loss of Derek the goose, who had lived in their harbour for more than a decade.
One of Us
Derek the goose - actually a female- is believed to have suffered a violent and mysterious death. Residents have started a fundraiser for a permanent memorial in her honour.
Watchet harbour was the inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and a striking statue of the sailor and the albatross he shoots is a landmark in the town.
A local resident, Carron Scott manages a Facebook page called Derek the Female Goose to explain why the fundraiser was important.
As many know Derek sadly died and she was part of our town of Watchet for such a long time. It has been decided we need a memorial – a bronze to fall in line with Jack and The Ancient Mariner.
The Guardian of the Marina
Derek had lived among the boats in Watchet marina since being blown into the harbour by a storm, and had been fed and looked after by the town’s community ever since. Scott said:
It’s devastated the town as I can’t think of anyone who did not know about Derek.
He explained that when she first arrived at the harbour, she was thought to be a male, thus the name Derek. However, after a health check, it turned out she was female, but they decided to maintain the name.
She was well fed and there was a fund at the marina shop you could give to for food. When I went out in the evening I always had half a Weetabix to tempt her. She got on with everyone, even the boat cat.
Flowers have been laid at a temporary memorial created on the Esplanade by Watchet marine staff, which includes a photograph of 'the guardian of the marina'.