Sophont
Saturday, January 24, 2004
 
F*** THE NAZIS, SAYS CHURCHILL'S PARROT
Mirror.co.uk Jan 19 2004, By Bill Borrows

SHE WAS at Winston Churchill's side during Britain's darkest hour. And now Charlie the parrot is 104 years old...and still cursing the Nazis.

Her favourite sayings were 'F*** Hitler' and 'F*** the Nazis'. And even today, 39 years after the great man's death, she can still be coaxed into repeating them with that unmistakable Churchillian inflection.

Many an admiral or peer of the realm was shocked by the tirade from the bird's cage during crisis meetings with the PM.

But it always brought a smile to the war leader's face.

Churchill bought Charlie - giving him a boy's name despite the fact she was female - in 1937.

She took pride of place in a bizarre menagerie of pets including lambs, pigs, cattle, swans and, at one point, a leopard.

He immediately began to teach her to swear - particularly in company - and she is keeping up the tradition today.

The blue and gold macaw is believed to be Britain's oldest bird.

The title was previously thought to belong to 80-year-old Cokky the cockatoo.

But it can be proved Charlie is at least 104 and was born in the 19th century.

Peter Oram bought her for his pet shop after Churchill died in 1965. But he was forced to move her into his home after she kept swearing at children.

For the last 12 years, she has lived at Mr Oram's garden centre in Reigate, Surrey.

Centre worker Sylvia Martin said: 'If truth be told, Charlie is looking a little scruffy but she is very popular with the public. We are all very attached to her.'

James Humes, an expert on the late PM, said: 'Churchill may no longer be with us but that spirit and those words of defiance and resolve continue.'

Charlie's story is in this month's Jack Magazine, on sale Thursday"


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