After 45 years, Goldie's off to the aquarium in the sky

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The Independent Online

Yes, it's sad but true. Goldie, the world's oldest goldfish, has died.

It seemed as if he would go on for ever, but now the family pet from Bradninch, Devon, has finally turned up his tail five years short of his half century. He was ceremonially buried in the Hen Street garden of the Evans family who kept him.

Tom Evans, who looked after him, said: "He had not been well for a while. He was just resting at the bottom of his tank,"

Pauline Evans said: "We did think about taking him out of his tank to let him die peacefully but his eyes seemed to be saying, don't you dare."

What a life it had been, though! Goldie had been in the family since 1960 when he was won at a fairground. He was originally owned by Pauline's parents, Charles (Bill) and Doris Hallett, at Budleigh Salterton. When they died in the late 1990s, Goldie was transferred to Bradninch in a bucket, and lived in a tank at Hen Street for almost eight years, under the care of Mr Evans.

He gradually became famous for his longevity. When a 43-year-old fish called Tish in Yorkshire died in 1999, making Goldie the oldest living goldfish, the international media descended on Bradninch. "The publicity just went berserk," Mrs Evans said.

Goldie appeared in a Japanese video on goldfish. He earned about £250 in TV fees, which went to Vranch House School and Centre for children with physical disabilities to set up a fish tank. Colonel Graeme Wheeler, the chief executive of the charity, said: "Goldie's legacy has made a huge difference to our centre. We have an aquarium in our reception and everyone is fascinated by it."

The house looked very bare without Goldie, Mrs Evans said - but she was not considering replacing him. "It is difficult getting people to look after them when we go away," she said.

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