8:00am Tuesday 10th November 2009 - By Chris Yandell, Echo
CRISPIE the feathered fundraiser has already appeared on calendars and Christmas cards sold in aid of charity. She has been raising money for good causes since being adopted by the manager of a hotel in the New Forest. Now the two-year-old Aylesbury duck is poised to help some of the region’s youngest cancer patients. Liz Cottingham, owner of The Mill at Gordleton, has published a children’s storybook about Crispie, who lives with Terri Seabright and her husband Mike at their home.
On the mornings Terri takes Crispie to work she lets her waddle around the hotel, where she enjoys celebrity status. Some of the proceeds from the sale of Crispie The Duck – Her First Years will go to the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton General Hospital. Patients include four-year-old Jaime Allinson, whose mother, Tina Hannington, used to work at the hotel in Silver Street, Hordle.
Jaime was only three when doctors discovered a tumour the size of a grapefruit. He underwent six months of chemotherapy, followed by a five-hour operation in which surgeons removed 60 per cent of his liver. Jaime is currently in remission following another course of chemotherapy, which is thought to have destroyed any remaining fragments of the tumour. Tina, 47, of Lymington, said: “The liver is the only organ in the body that regenerates and Jaime should end up with a liver that’s 90 per cent of what it should be. “He has a scan every three months and will have to see a consultant until he’s 17, but the prognosis is good.”
Tina praised the “fantastic” care her son had received at the Piam Brown Ward, which treats young cancer patients from across the South. She is also a big fan of Crispie, whose heart-warming story will raise vital funds for the unit.
Crispie was only a day old when Terri found her outside the hotel. She took her home and became her substitute mother, even teaching her how to swim.
The 12-page book, which is illustrated by Liz’s daughter Abi and starts in classic storybook style with the words “Once upon a time”, is on sale at the hotel and the hospital. It will also be available at the Yuletide in Lymington event on December 9.
Unique service for disabled children
25th June 2009
I am sure that your article about Crispie the duck (Daily Echo, June 18) brought a great deal of joy to many people. The significance of First Opportunities was lost in its description as a play group at Ashley. First Opportunities is an independent charity providing therapeutic structured play for babies and young children with a whole range of disabilities living in East Dorset and the New Forest – it is a unique facility in this region. It has been successfully helping these youngsters for well over 30 years. Our aim is to help these children to overcome, or learn to cope with, their disabilities.
The love and care given to the children by a dedicated staff with more or less one-to-one guidance is not cheap and annual operating costs exceed £50,000. This is why the kindness of the staff at The Mill at Gordleton in supporting us with the profits from their excellent calendar for the second year running is so appreciated; hence our thank you to Terri the manager and Liz the owner of the Mill.
Geoff Pitts, vice-chairman of Trustees, First Opportunities
18th June 2009 - By Bob Jolliffe
CRISPIE duck isn’t on the menu at The Mill at Gordleton.
But it’s to be found in the bar, in the lounge, in the hall, in the garden... in fact, anywhere manager Terri Seabright goes. Terri has been “mum” to Crispie ever since she was a day-old hatchling ignored by an uncaring mother duck that just didn’t want to know about the ball of fluff waddling in her wake. Concerned about the little Aylesbury duckling’s fate, Terri took her home and popped her in the bath. She feared the worst. But the next morning Crispie, as she was about to become, was cheeping merrily in the tub. That was August 2007. Today, Crispie is a feature at the The Mill in Silver Street, Hordle. Everyone who visits is simply quackers about her. “We have ladies who phone to book tables and they only book tables if she’s here,” said Terri. Crispie has her own website page (themillatgordleton.co.uk) and has featured in two calendars to raise money for First Opportunities playgroup along the road at Ashley.
The owner of The Mill, Liz Cottingham, said: “Crispie is a very welcome guest and our Crispie calendars are going brilliantly. They’ve made £620 this year and we did it last year as well and raised £550.” Terri had to teach Crispie to swim properly. “I put her in the bath and she swam backwards, and we corrected that,” she said. Now she has her own pond in Terri and husband Mike’s garden at home in the New Forest’s Waterside area. “On the days I bring her to work in my car and she travels in a cat basket,” she said. “She’s really is a pet. She’s more like a little dog than a duck. She likes little walks and we’ve taken her out across the forest for a little wander.”
When she gets to The Mill in the morning, she has a routine which includes checking out the interior before she goes out in the garden. Despite the temptation at the bar, Crispie is teetotal and doesn’t duck and dive in the millstream, unless Terri is there to keep an eye on her. And she is boss at home. “I have two cats. She told them off a couple of times and they leave her alone,” said Terri. So is there a downside to having a duck indoors? “She does make a mess. We tried to litter train her but we couldn’t. That was impossible. “Every night when she goes to bed she has iceberg lettuce, and she’s very good at de-slugging my garden.“She lays an egg every day. That’s my little thank-you, I think,” said Terri.