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Tony, the last pit pony, dies aged 40

England's last pit pony has died of old age, the animal shelter caring for him said.

The animal, Tony, worked underground at the Ellington pit in Northumberland before being retired in 1994. The pit was the last in England to use ponies. In 1900, 70,000 ponies helped move loads of coal in Britain's mines; they were even stabled underground.

Tony died aged 40 and spent his last years at the Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter, where Leyla Rutter said: "His sad death marks the end of an era and an important part of our North-east heritage. It was a grand age for any pony."