gold fish

By Alex Matthews 

A primary school class sent their goldfish off in style – by giving them a flaming Viking boat burial.

Primary 3 and 4 pupils at Papdale School in Kirkwall, on the Orkney Islands, gave Bubbles and Freddy a traditional Norse ceremony and waved them off to Valhalla.

The goldfish became class pets for Christmas, but sadly both died recently.

The children had been studying the Vikings, and so they decided to give their goldfish an appropriate burial.

Pupils wrote down their memories of the fish and read them aloud, before letting the fish set sail in longboats they had made that morning.

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Class teacher Corey Eddington said: “It was a very sombre morning when we found out the goldfish were dead.

“I had bought them as a class present for Christmas and thought they would live for a long time.

“The kids had been doing a great job of looking after them, and taking it in turns to feed them, which I think made it sadder.

“It was actually one of the children who suggested we give them a Viking burial.

“At first we didn’t think much of it, but then later it seemed like a great idea.”

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The 23 children designed and decorated their own longboats in groups of three before carrying them to a pond at the back of the school’s playing fields.

There, they read out their memories of the fish, including describing what the fish would have been able to see of the class, before letting them go.

Corey then waded into the pond to set fire to the boats.

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She said: “It was sad when the children were reading out their tributes, but a big cheer went up when we launched the boats.

“It was a great success, except the boat did fall over mid-burn.

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“The children enjoyed it, especially as you don’t get to see your teacher wading about in wellies to set fire to a boat every day.

“There has been talk of replacing Bubbles and Freddy, but we’re going to let their memories live on a little longer first.”