Museum staff are mourning the death of a rare Suffolk Punch horse — just months after his companion died.

Eighteen-year-old George lived at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham. He died last week after showing signs of colic — which also claimed his companion, Queenie, five months ago.

Like Queenie, George died within hours of becoming ill.

Spokesman Charles Wilde said: “The guys are devastated because they have lost not one but two very close friends in a matter of months.

“Suffolk Punch horses are very rare — there’s only about 240 in the world.

“Over the past few months staff have put in an enormous effort to increase the number of Suffolk Punches at the museum to ensure the future of this endangered breed and then this happened.”

Farm manager Richard Dalton added: “George was in such good health, getting regular exercise, pulling cart rides and doing general farm work. He was so loveable.”

Gressenhall’s Mike Crisp was working with George the day he became ill.

He said: “Colic is completely unexpected. One feels helpless watching a healthy horse become ill so rapidly and die for no visibly apparent reason. It’s the hardest thing a stockman has to deal with and for George to follow Queenie so quickly is just heartbreaking.”