End of an era as Worsthorne pony Duke dies

Duke, pictured right

Duke, pictured right

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A four-legged friend to children and families in Worsthorne for three decades has died – three years after his mother and at the same age.

Duke the lovable pony was, just like his mother Maggie, a really prominent figure in the village.

But he had to be put to sleep last week after developing a twisted gut.

His owner Alison Leigh said: “It’s devastating for us. He was healthy and happy but unfortunately developed a twisted gut which is fatal in horses and had to be tragically put to sleep on Tuesday.”

The ponies, both aged 33, had found a place in the hearts of many generations and had been in the field on Ormerod Street, Worsthorne, for more than 30 years. Hundreds of people took their children and then their grandchildren to feed them.

Alison, landlady of the Crooked Billet, who had had Duke since she was 13, said: “A few years ago we got another small pony, Izzy, to keep Duke company when we lost his mum.

We bred him and rode him and my dad even had him in the cart for many years. He was a real character and a legend in the village.

“He could be very awkward when he wanted to be, but around my two sons, who are 7 and 4, he would let them sit on him and brush him and he wouldn’t move an inch.

“We have some lovely memories of Duke and his mum Maggie but, unfortunately, this is the end of an era.”