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Pet cemetery Shaun is doing something special

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IN ALDERNEY, offering your free time to help others is the norm rather than the exception.

IN ALDERNEY, offering your free time to help others is the norm rather than the exception.

So to be nominated by others as an unsung island hero means you must be doing something really quite special.

Shaun Bagot is one of those individuals. Away from the Victoria Street floristry shop he has run for more than 40 years, he is also a keen animal lover.

So keen that for 30 years he has been burying much-loved pets on a piece of land he owns on the Blaye. There are now around 300 cats and dogs resting there that owners can visit. All their plots are dug by Mr Bagot, at any time, in all weathers.

When asked why he went to such efforts, he humbly replied, 'Just because'.

Shaun was nominated an unsung hero by Kerry Schussel, who sadly had to say goodbye to her beloved dog Kobe recently. He was the third pet she has had buried at Shaun's pet cemetery.

When Kobe died, Kerry said, Shaun had been a profoundly comforting presence. 'I was so deeply impressed by how long this man had been dedicated to looking after our animals who had gone to their rest and I wanted to do something about it,' she explained.

Jeanette Bathgate, Alderney Animal Welfare Society's veterinary nurse, also said he deserved recognition.

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'A pet can mean everything to some people on Alderney – they are a member of the family or their closest companion,' she said. 'Other people don't always know the value of a pet, but Shaun does. I think the island would be lost without him.'

She said Mr Bagot made her job much easier when owners had to say goodbye to their animals. 'When people are upset and they can't bury their pet at home, the owner's life is made a little easier because they can go to the pet cemetery. Everyone trusts him – they know their animal is in safe hands. He should be recognised for what he does. I think it's amazing.'

Annie Savage, Shaun's colleague at Alderney Nurseries, also supported the nomination and revealed that he even takes owners' pets to them when they are ill, to help give them a boost.

Mr Bagot is also a stalwart in St Anne's Church Choir, never failing to turn up on time. One member, who did not wish to be named, said: 'He is such a reliable, dear soul. He does a lot for the church very quietly.

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'He is at every service and choir practice and every funeral and wedding. It doesn't matter what is happening with his shop, he always makes sure to be on time.'

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The St Anne's nativity play featured all primary school pupils this year and they delighted audiences with their diverse talents.

The infant and junior school has 67 students and all had a role in this year's Christmas celebration.

Joseph was played by infant Harry Bingham and Mary by Isla Jenkins.

Danni Woodnutt played a solo on her cornet and joined Deborah Etheredge and Zuzanna Machcowska in performing solo singing stints.

Around 30 people from Age Concern attended the dress rehearsal.

'I was so proud of them,' said teacher Gillian Costello, who has been organising the play with them since the autumn half-term.

'Their singing was beautiful, everyone said they really enjoyed it and there were even a few tears in some people's eyes.

'There was something for everyone in this year's play because there was such a range of ages taking part in the singing, playing and acting. It really showcased their talents.'

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