The bird that stole the show at a Hartlepool council meeting

Coun Ellett with the rescued budgie.

Coun Ellett with the rescued budgie.

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Council chambers are often filled with lively debate but it’s not usually about budgies.

That all changed 40 years ago when Coun George Ellett literally “got the bird” at a Hartlepool council meeting.

Winnifred Walker.

Winnifred Walker.

He was on his way to a special meeting of the Hartlepool Works Committee when he was met by a very wet budgerigar which was waiting patiently on the steps to the Civic Centre.

He picked it up but he couldn’t find a box to keep it in.

Instead, he put the bird in his pocket for safekeeping.

And that meant taking his new-found friend into the meeting which was all about discussions with residents of Murray Street in Hartlepool. It sat beside him throughout the proceedings.

He was as good as gold right through the meeting. It will be quite a coincidence if this budgie comes from Murray Street

George Ellett

Coun Ellett said at the time: “He was as good as gold right through the meeting. It will be quite a coincidence if this budgie comes from Murray Street.”

The search was on to either find the budgie’s owner or come up with a new home.

In the end, 71-year-old Winnifred Walker came up with the answer within days.

She read the story about the bird and, as it later emerged, her own budgie had just died from a chill.

So Mrs Walker became the proud owner of a new bird and soon had a new name of Joey.

Mrs Walker said at the time: “I felt quite lonely without my own budgie and I thought I could give this little fellow a good home.”

Coun Ellett delivered the three-year-old Joey to Mrs Walker’s home himself and said her enquiry was one of a string that he received thanks to the power of the press.

Who remembers the bird that became the star of a council meeting in 1976.

Or perhaps you have your own event in history to share.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk