North East Wales

Turkey's great escape from Rhug Estate lorry in Christmas run-up

Gareth Williams and Colditz the turkey
Image caption Gareth Williams was amazed when the turkey turned up at his mother-in-law's house

A turkey with royal connections which fled from a lorry on the way to the slaughterhouse has been dubbed "Colditz" for his great escape.

The bird did a flyer as he was being taken from the Rhug Estate in Corwen, Denbighshire, which supplies the Prince of Wales with his festive fowl.

Farmer Gareth Williams said he did not expect to see him again.

But Colditz turned up at the door of Mr Williams's mother-in-law in Llangollen and has now been spared from slaughter.

Mr Williams, 52, said he was grateful the lorry carrying 19 turkeys as well as chickens was just one bird light when he arrived at the abattoir after a journey of 70 miles.

He had reams of extra paperwork to fill in at the abattoir and explanations to offer back at the estate office.

Mr Williams said: "We were baffled as to how the door had opened. I was amazed I hadn't lost a lot more.

"Then my mother-in-law rang. She lives in Llangollen. I go through there. When I go over the bridge, I go round a sharp right.

"The door must have swung open and he was nearest the door and was flung out.

"Of all the places to end up in, that is amazing. I could have lost him at any point and to end up on my mother-in-law's doorstep, well, that just doesn't happen."

Rhug Estate owner Lord Newborough is said to have helped give Colditz his new name.

His father was interned at the notorious Nazi castle after previously escaping from another German prisoner-of-war camp during World War Two.

Colditz is said to be something of a mascot for the farm now that he has the run of the place while the remaining 600 birds are set for their own one-way trip.

Mr Williams said: "I could tell him apart. He's quite browny. He is a little bit different. He has a bit more white on his wings."

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