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News of Albi the squirrel's death crosses the Atlantic

By This is Surrey  |  Posted: November 22, 2009

  • The Dorking Albino Squirrel - pic by Rita Wren

    The Dorking Albino Squirrel - pic by Rita Wren

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Offers to replace Dorking's beloved albino squirrel have poured in as news of the animal's demise hit the international media spotlight.

The hapless squirrel was hit by a vehicle while crossing Mill Lane last month.

The news has since sparked a media storm with the story appearing across the globe.

And sympathetic Americans have responded with invites to replace the snow-coloured furry friend, affectionately dubbed Albi.

The town's tourism website visitdorking.com received an offer shortly after the story featured on Fox News.

Richard Warsin of Rockingham, North Carolina, offered a colony of ersatz white squirrels living in his garden.

"They look just like Albi except they don't have pink eyes," he said.

He added: "This could be a happy ending to a sad story, so feel free to e-mail me if you folks are interested in my offer. Again I am sorry for your loss."

Dorking Chamber of Commerce also received an invite for white squirrels to be shipped to Dorking via Heathrow.

Nate Marlen, of an Illinois chamber of commerce, said: "You may want to contact the city mayor's office and see if they will give you one or two as replacements for your Killed in Action white squirrel.

"I am in the shipping business and ship commerce to or from the UK and the rest of the world.

"Most likely any International shipment will go through Chicago for a direct flight to London Heathrow."

Rick Parish, president of Dorking and District Chamber of Commerce, said: "The Chamber of Commerce in Olney, South Illinois, kindly offered to send Dorking a replacement white squirrel. It is comforting to know that the Chambers of Commerce around the world look out for each other."

Meanwhile, residents closer to home have sought out a replacement.

Dorking resident Jim Ford phoned John Goodspeed, a wildlife expert in Portsmouth where albino squirrels have been spotted.

Mr Ford, of Nower Road, said: "If I can find a breeding pair, all the better.

"Perhaps we could even get the local residents to vote for a name."

But Mr Goodspeed was doubtful transporting the rodents would work.

He said: "It would surprise me if an animal transported even 30 to 40 miles away would necessarily stay put.

"It would depend very much on the attitude of the grey squirrels in the area. But if Jim Forth or anyone else finds one and wants to try it they can."

Traders have also been going nuts over the death of Dorking's albino squirrel.

Jim Paulett, manager of Lemon Tree, in High Street, Dorking, has squirrel memorial shopping bags and mugs.

He said the items have been flying out of the shop.

He said: "I had read in the Advertiser that the squirrel had died and on the website there were so many people commenting about it. I then saw the story on the TV and in the national papers and I thought we should have something made.

"I had a few shopping bags and mugs made and once we put them out a couple of people straight away commented on them.

John Jenkins, manager, from the Kings Arms, in West Street, have a alcoholic drink called Albi-no-more in memory of the squirrel.

He said: "It's all a bit of tongue in cheek, but I loved that squirrel. We do a shot a week, every week, and we thought it would be something nice because everyone is talking about him."

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    Natalie, Surrey  |  November 28 2009, 8:06PM

    Whenever I saw Albi it looked like he was going to attack me... I was rather scared of him!! But I'm sure he was lovely really!

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    Richard Muirhead, Macclesfield  |  November 24 2009, 11:05AM

    I am interested in albino and melanistic (black) squirrels and have had an article published on the latter in British Wildlife magazine in 1998.I would be interested in any information on albino or black squirrels.

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    J, Lower Kingswood  |  November 24 2009, 10:34AM

    We may be nuts but it makes a change to have a news story to take our minds off all the gloom and doom we get everday.

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    Steve, Dorking  |  November 24 2009, 8:02AM

    Everyones gone nuts !!

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    Rob, Surrey, UK  |  November 22 2009, 11:05AM

    I watched a news item on American news about Albi whilst in Massachusetts a few weeks ago. I couldn't believe it. Albi had gone global!!!