Sidmouth’s floral peacock suffering from fungal disease

Sidmouth’s Fred the Peacock - saved by readers but killed off by fungal predator

FRED the floral peacock is suffering from a fungal disease that threatens to kill him off for good.

This comes despite efforts earlier this year to raise enough money to keep him in his Blackmore Gardens home in Sidmouth, when East Devon District Council and Sidmouth in Bloom announced they couldn’t afford to let Fred return for 2011.

Sidmouth Herald’s Save Fred the Peacock campaign raised the required �2,335 by April, helped by generous donations from local residents, businesses and visitors to the area, who posted dozens of cheques to Bloom president, Joy Seward.

The disease, which is threatening flowers throughout the UK, has affected Fred’s colourful tail of busy lizzies.

EDDC had displayed a small sign informing the public of Fred’s illness, but it has been misplaced.

This has led to incorrect rumours of vandalism.

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Until recently, Mrs Seward was also unaware of the peacock’s debilitating disease.

After being told of the 3D bird’s ailment, Joy immediately phoned EDDC’s parks development officer, Mark Pollard, to demand answers.

“I will do everything I can to help save Fred once again,” she assured, saying EDDC didn’t have any replacement plants so she was endeavouring to find some to replant Fred’s tail, which she hoped Sidmouth in Bloom would be able to afford. Unfortunately, Joy’s determination may not be enough to save Fred, who is regarded as one of Sidmouth’s most iconic attractions.

M Pollard warned there is nothing to prevent the disease from returning year after year.

“The company that provides the seeds for Fred’s busy lizzies feels that there is no point in replanting them next year, as the disease has spread to the ground,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do.”