THE STREETS of Winnersh are suddenly a lot quieter than they used to be.
This is because after 150 days, Christopher Elvin’s pet walks have finally come to an end.
Throughout lockdown, he could be spotted taking a variety of exotic animals out for an evening stroll.
His menagerie includes Jack the Giraffe, Agnes the Flamingo and Timmy the T-Rex, among others.
The IT genius would set off on his silly walks nearly everyday at around 5pm, embarking on 12 different routes all starting at Sainsbury’s in Winnersh.
But for now, his journey has come to an end.
“I decided to stop doing the walks after all of the routes got a chance to see each animal,” he says. “But it was so enjoyable to put a smile on people’s faces.
“That was the point of all – doing something silly, clowning about and making
Christopher never expected the walks to become so popular – he even set up a GPS tracker, so people knew where to find him.
“A lot of people were waiting for me, every day,” he says. “Even the cars on the road would be tooting and waving.”
And the walks didn’t only raise people’s spirits, they also raised £2,500 for charity.
“At the beginning, people were trying to give me money when I was out and about on the walks.
“So I decided to set up JustGiving pages for two local charities – The Cowshed and First Days Children’s Charity.
“It feels great, absolutely great to have raised all that money,” he says.
Christopher explains that because he is classed as in a vulnerable group, his daily walks were often his only interaction with the world.
“It was keeping me sane.”
But now he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife and, he admits, eating his dinner at a normal time.
However there’s no need to worry – the band of colourful creatures won’t be going anywhere.
“They’re locked away in the cupboard at the moment, but I’m not going to get rid of them,” Christopher says.
“I haven’t suddenly become sane or anything like that. I still want to do special requests like birthdays, so they will be back.”
To donate to The Cowshed, head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cowshed-flamingo
To donate to First Days Children’s Charity, head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/firstdays-flamingo