Beside the grave lie gifts, flowers and heartfelt messages, some in verse. A tribute page on the social networking site Facebook has attracted more than 250 members.And the cause of this remarkable outpouring of grief? Albi the albino squirrel is no more.Albi, also known as Snowy or Percy, fell foul of a hit-and-run driver outside the churchyard where he used to live and play in Dorking, Surrey.
Dozens of tearful mourners have made the pilgrimage to his grave in a flower bed and turned it into a shrine to their ‘light that has gone out’.Cards, flowers and bags of nuts surround the small wooden cross which marks the spot where his body lies.One message reads: ‘Bye my beautiful albino squirrel. Miss you. I will always remember you forever. Rest in peace. Love you.’
Another reads: ‘We can’t believe you’ve gone little friend. ‘Everyone loved to see you running in the churchyard with your fellow – but grey – squirrels. We will not forget you.’One mourner has brought a bathroom tile to the grave on which is scratched the words: ‘Albi no more.’And a poem on a card laments his ‘untimely death’ at the hands of an ‘evil driver’.
Only one in 100,000 squirrels is an albino. Since he appeared about two years ago Albi had become such a celebrity that his fans would wear white squirrel costumes at fancy-dress parties.
After his death the Dorking Advertiser printed a tribute feature where readers were invited to send in their pictures of him.Lou Gardey was one of the first on the scene following the accident. She buried Albi in St Martin’s churchyard so he could ‘have some dignity’.