A SMARTLY dressed duck turned heads in the district when he was spotted wearing a bow tie in his owner’s car.

A video of the waterbird, taken by Gemma Hirst on Prudhoe High Street, caused a sensation on social media last week.

But Star Hayman, owned by Barrie and Sue Hayman, of Bywell, had already made quite a name for himself.

The nine-year-old Indian Runner duck has been with the family since birth, and hatched while the Hayman’s were living in Devon.

He’s been the face of fund-raising campaigns, helped to launch Sue’s business, and even had a book written about him.

“From the moment he hatched in one of our incubators, he was not interested in anyone else other than my husband Barrie,” said Sue.

“As far as he was concerned he wasn’t a duck at all. He didn’t acknowledge any of the other ducks we had.”

As a duckling Barrie would put him in his top pocket and take him everywhere.

As he grew older, Star followed Barrie to the high street, happily mingling with shoppers, and even went on to attend church services.

After drawing the attention of the local press in Devon, the duck’s story went national and even international.

But Star had not made his mark on the Tyne Valley until last week, when Barrie headed into Prudhoe to get some pre-lockdown shopping.

Sue explained: “Naturally Star went with him. Barrie didn’t take him into the shop but left him in the car. We can only assume that Star had noticed that he was getting some attention and may well have set off the car alarm by accident, but more than likely set it off to get more attention. He will quite often pose for the cameras. He is a real diva duck!”

Sue said the duck began wearing bow ties when he and Barrie became fund-raisers for a children’s hospice in Devon. They raised thousands of pounds year on year, and attended football matches, fairs and fetes.

Star was totally undaunted by crowds, and certainly gave as good as he got to dogs who came up to him.

We left Devon just over two years ago and after some time on the road we eventually settled here in Northumberland.

Star is in semi-retirement now. He still loves the attention and human contact but no longer goes on the streets. However, he loves going out in the car.

Him and Barrie are inseparable. He is very much part of the family. If he doesn’t think he is human then he probably thinks he is a dog. We had 3 dogs when Star first hatched. We now only have the one (an 18-month-old puppy called Florence) and they are best friends. They play together and hang out together very happily, like best friends.

Barrie has always felt that Star was a gift, and was brought here to make people smile. We are so pleased that they can still do, especially during these strange times we are currently living in.

I have attached here a YouTube link of a short film which was made at the beginning of the year. Pre-lockdwon, they were regular members of St Peters Church in Bywell (they attended church back in Devon too). Star loves the ambience of the service and always joins in with the Lords Prayer (which is captured on the video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDuaUR3HSIU

(this footage also shows our other dog – Drake the working collie – who died only recently with old age. Drake was there when Star first hatched and was a real protector to him. Having said that, Star would happily sit on Drake’s back or literally walk over him to get to wherever he wanted to go!)

I wrote a book a few years ago which charts the first 2 years of Star’s life - Amazon.co.uk


I have attached a couple of pictures you might be interested in. These also feature, plus many more, within Star’s Facebook Page – Star Hayman.

Oh and one last thing to mention, two years ago I set up my own business Star Duck Administration. Star has been a great marketing tool for my business and has attended (pre-lockdown) a few networking events with me and also has gone out with Barrie to market the business for me. He doesn’t quite assist with the work I do on a daily basis, but has gate-crashed the odd zoom call before now!

If you would like any further information, please let us know.