Published: 05:00, 24 October 2021
A couple have thanked the community on Sheppey for helping to cheer up their 11-year-old son after his beloved parrot died.
Zoe Springate and Clinton Whitehouse said their son Alfie, who was diagnosed with ADHD three years ago and is now going through the process for an autism diagnosis, was heartbroken after losing Milly, an albino quaker parrot.
Zoe, of Sheerness, said: "He broke down when she died. He was absolutely heartbroken.
"He used to spend hours with her every day and he would sit and talk to her and tell her his little secrets – they were inseparable.
"She wasn't a bird to him, she was his best friend."
After Milly's passing, Alfie wrote a letter to her, which he addressed to 'Heaven', and posted it in the Thames Avenue postbox.
His note was found by postman Billy Freshwater on his collection round and, because of its address, he decided to show it to his colleague Samantha Marshall.
The pair, along with fellow postie Graham Benham, decided to share the letter on Facebook in an attempt to get Islanders to come together and help find Alfie because they wanted to do something for him.
After making contact with his mum, Graham set up a fundraising page to try and raise enough money to replace the youngster's pet.
Soon after, Stephen Platt, of funeral directors Palliser Platt and Sons in Sheerness, asked if Alfie would like to have his late mother's parrot, called Stanley.
He even bought a new cage for Stanley from the Cuddles and Bubbles pet shop in Sheerness Broadway, which gave him a discount after hearing of the cause.
Earlier this month, Stephen and Alfie met up and Alfie got to meet Stanley for the first time.
Zoe, 35, said: "Alfie understands the bird has been given to him but he doesn't quite understand why – he is just really grateful that he has got him.
"He spends all his time with Stanley now. He sits with him for about an hour each night reading him a bedtime story.
"He's got a friend back. It's not the friend he had but he's now got another friend."
Clinton, 39, added: "We just want to thank every single person who has helped make this happen. It's more heart-warming than anything else. There are some really kind people on this Island."