Biography as far as I can remember
Pauline Evans – December 2004
Goldie – the goldfish – first entered my life in about 1960.
He, we always refer to Goldie as a he, was one of three small fish my parents acquired about that time (It is thought in some circles that they came from a fair – but I can’t confirm that). The other 2 fish only survived a few days – so Goldie was soon on his own. Two more fish were introduced into the tank – and the same thing happened – they were found floating on top of the tank, which I think my father made, a few days later. Once again Goldie became a loner and my parents decided to leave him on his own except for a succession of water snails to help keep the water clean. These too have now died out. Later a pump, to aerate the water, and an overhead light were introduced and the tank has always had plenty of fresh waterweed. The pump and overhead light are on a timer – from 7.30a.m. to 10.00p.m.
Over the years all visiting children – to the house in Budleigh Salterton where my parents lived – were invited to meet the fish, who didn’t have a name until he came to Bradninch, and perhaps sprinkle a little food into the tank. Feeding the fish was always one of the highlights of a visit to grandparents/great grandparents by my three children, and subsequently their children, and a succession of cousins – for nearly 40 years.
My parents – Doris and Charles (Bill) Hallett, died in 1995 and 1997, leaving Goldie as the sole occupant of the house – and we had to decide ‘what to do with Goldie’
Goldie came to live in Bradninch. He was transferred to a bucket, so that we could empty the tank and put it in the back of the car. I balanced the bucket, containing the fish, on my knees, in the car – from Budleigh Salterton to Bradninch – a journey of about three quarters of an hour. When we arrived in Bradninch, we refilled the tank and Goldie has been swimming around, fairly happily, ever since – over 7 years. He is fed a little about 3 times a week and periodically is transferred to a bucket whilst the tank is cleaned by my husband Tom, who took on responsibility for looking after Goldie when he came to live with us in Bradninch. There have been a couple of occasions when he has looked decidedly unhappy and we have thought he would die – but each time – he perked up.
Over recent years Goldie, who was a golden yellowy orange when he came to live in Bradninch – hence the name given to him by Tom – has changed colour completely. His scales have faded to a pearly pink colour.
Two years ago the Culm Valley Gazette featured an article re Goldie as, possibly, the oldest goldfish in captivity, and it took off ‘world wide’ through the press, T.V. and radio – we were amazed at the interest shown in our small fish..
In 2004, when another ‘birthday’ came round for Goldie, and the newspaper representative contacted us again, Tom and I decided to ask anyone who featured Goldie in an article to make a donation to Vranch House, the headquarters of The Devon and Exeter Spastic Society, where Goldie now sponsors an aquarium, in the entrance hall, much enjoyed by the children.
Goldie, the tiny occupants of the circular aquarium at Vranch House (Goldie would eat them for breakfast perhaps), the Head teacher Maureen Boon and some of the children at the school, and Tom and I, are now to feature in a film by a Japanese Television film about goldfish in general. We first had a visit from Minako Kurachi, the director of the film, who travelled from London to Exeter by train and out to Bradninch by bus to decide on a plan of action.
Then, a few weeks later, Minako returned with a film crew to spend a whole day making recordings – first at Vranch House and then in Bradninch. NHK Enterprises Europe Ltd, who made the film, have promised a donation - £150 - to the Goldie Fund at Vranch House.
Further information on Vranch House can be seen on www.vranchhouse.org