Desmond Drake was a much-loved local celebrity in Compton Martin, Somerset, where he frightened other birds in the village pond for 25 years. But his long life came to a sad end when villagers found a pile of feathers near the pond – and realised that Desmond had been eaten by a fox.

Desmond’s demise has ruffled the feathers of residents who are quacking up in their desire to give a him a send-off that fits the bill. A notice in the local pub, The Ring O Bells, announced that Desmond had “sadly passed this week”, and said a wake would be con-duck-ted in his honour.

Local resident Andrew Griffiths told the Western Daily Press: “He will be sadly missed, both for his propensity to consume stale bread and cake, along with his ability to toss upstart young moorhens all over the place.

“He has been a permanent fixture of the pond for in excess of 25 years, outliving all his contemporaries. He has brought much joy and happiness to people of all ages. He will be sadly missed and so can never be replaced.

“We said we would have a wake for the duck. When we decide to do it we will drop the flag to half-mast on the church. We will all have a drink in the pub. He was a very long-serving duck and member of the community. He became family, he became a village icon. There was even a little society, the blood of the duck, and we would drink whiskey with a duck egg in. Lots of people have been giving their condolences since his death.”