Willows Animal Sanctuary has said a final farewell to a much-loved veteran and sanctuary favourite.

Fluke, who was believed to be 42, arrived at the Aberdeenshire centre in August 2016 after his elderly owner was no longer able to take care of him.

“His  80-year-old owner had struggled to bring feed out to Fluke every day despite his mobility issues and one day he actually collapsed and remained stranded outside all night until help arrived,” said yard manager Vikky McDonald.

“It was a painful decision for him to give up Fluke and it was made even worse when the larger charities they approached told him that Fluke was too old and should be euthanised. When he approached Willows, we immediately said we’d help and arrangements were made to bring him over.

“Fluke’s condition was evaluated by a vet upon arrival and it was decided that although he was in very poor condition and had one or two health issues, it was worth trying to rehabilitate him. In that time Fluke gained condition and we successfully managed his health issues and we managed to give him 18 months of high quality living before he became terminally ill.”

The gelding enjoyed a year and a half with the charity, but his health took a turn for the worse and he was put down on 3 February.

“We’re not sure exactly what went wrong but it was very sudden and our vet advised that it was kindest to let him go,” said Ms McDonald.

“We were all by his side and our vet did a great job helping him slip peacefully to sleep and to a dignified end.”

Fluke loved being groomed and spending time in the field with his companion Napoleon, but his favourite pastime was escaping according to sanctuary workers.

“We are all absolutely heartbroken and to say that he will be missed is an understatement,” said the spokesman.

“Looking after Fluke was an absolute joy and privilege and it was a real honour to be there with him at the end.

“Fluke’s light shone very brightly until the end and not only was he loved by all who knew him, he was loved by all our social media supporters.”

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The spokesman thanked all those who made Fluke’s retirement possible by donating funds, sending feed or sharing posts.

“Rest in peace Fluke, you truly were one in a million,” he added.

Willows Animal Sanctuary is the largest equine, farm and domestic animal sanctuary in Scotland.

It cares for more than 450 animals, including more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys, approximately 60 cats and dogs and more than 200 farm animals and birds.

The charity also offers animal-assisted therapy in the community.