Nutty funeral for ‘Sparky’ the squirrel

Villagers have paid their respects to Sparky, the tragic squirrel, fried on power lines in Stone-in-Oxney near Tenterden, Kent.

Sparky caused a buzz when he got trapped in the electric lines for two months. Residents were so moved by his plight they created a roadside grave reading “RIP Sparky”, it was adorned with flowers and topped by Sparky’s carcass, which EDF workers had knocked down with a stick.

Paul Withers-Green, landlord of the nearby Ferry Inn pub, held a wake surrounding the wooden coffin containing a bag of the squirrel’s ashes. He laid on curry for the mourners, assuring them it didn’t contain squirrel meat. He explained:  “We’re looking for closure. Enough time’s been spent now on Sparky and it’s time to lay him to rest.”

Neighbour Jack Wiltshire, 12, said he and his friends first noticed the squirrel on the school bus: “I saw it first,” he said. “I thought, ‘I bet his jaw hurt a bit!'” He added: “It was weird how he got a grave but I liked it. We’ll miss Sparky a lot.”

But one villager said there was a serious side to the tale. The resident, who wouldn’t give his name as he works for the government, said: “I’m thinking of putting it forward as an official Health and Safety poster: ‘Are you live, or are you alive?’

“It highlights the danger of overhead power lines. That could happen just as easily to a person as a squirrel.”

And a card from “great-uncle Nutkin and great-aunt Hazel” was equally mournful. They wrote: “He is now in squirrel heaven, where all the trees have nuts and all the power supplies are 110 volts.”

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