Tributes have been paid to RAF Halton’s ceremonial goat called George after he died from illness.
The six-year-old Golden Guernsey-Boer goat was best known for attending graduation parades at the airbase.
Corp Kala Jones from Halton’s McTeague Flight was the primary carer for George and chose him to be the station’s mascot in 2010. She said: “George had been ill for a couple of weeks but I was still very sad to hear the news of his passing.
“He was with us for two years and I led him out on a number of high profile parades.”
Lauren Godfrey, his keeper at the Stoke Mandeville-based Bucks Goat Centre, confirmed that George had Johnes disease – an inflammation of the intestine.
She said: “George was only six years old, so not a very great age as goats normally live until about 10 years old.
“We were all very sad to lose him so early.”
RAF Halton’s Recruit Training Squadron adopted George as their mascot in August 2010.
At the time, Flt Lieut Katie Rothwell said: “It is a great idea to have George as a symbol for the squadron. He has been selected from a cast of many and will be something the squadron can rally behind to increase esprit de corps among the recruits.”
The history behind having goats as mascots at RAF Halton dates back to the Second World War, when the Royal Welch Fusiliers left their goat Lewis with the airbase’s apprentices after they were sent to the front line.
The apprentices adopted the goat and the tradition continued until 1993, when the last RAF apprentice graduation parade was conducted.
Aircraftman George the goat is the latest in a long line of goat mascots at the airbase dating back to the Second World War.
When George was first revealed to the press in 2010, Squadron Leader Jan De-Vry said: “It is important to remember the history behind our station, and with George we will continue those traditions that were forged back then and make history for future generations to look back on.”
In 2010, Lauren Godfrey, the farm manager at the Bucks Goat Centre, said: “I am not surprised that he has fitted in so well as he has been raised around people and was a keen competitor on our animal assault course.”
> The Bucks Herald understands that The Bucks Goat Centre is currently considering a number of goats who could take over George’s duties at the airbase.