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True community spirit takes flight in Ribble Valley village as residents rally to help keep celebrity magpie safe

Magpie Mike with his faithful companion and protector Boo the whippet
Magpie Mike with his faithful companion and protector Boo the whippet
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Villagers are rallying round in an astonishing show of true community spirit to help keep a young tame magpie safe.

A fund set up to build an aviary for the bird, known as Magpie Mike, has already raised £360, almost halfway to its target of £1,000 in a couple of days.

Sabden couple Steve Rostron and Janine MacLean, who adopted Mike when he fell out of his nest as a chick, have been overwhelmed by the response to the appeal already.

Janine said: "We can't put into words how grateful we are for the help that Mike's friends have given, it is overwhelming."

Mike has become a household pet and shares a bed with Steve and Janine's whippet Boo. And he even joins Steve and Boo on their regular walks.

And Mike has become a familiar sight in the village where he loves to visit neighbours and also children at the local schools during playtime. He is also a regular at pubs in the village where he loves a tot of beer.

The enchanting story has been captured on film and shown across the world where Mike has become a celebrity.

He has now also what is known as an imprinted bird, which means he cannot be released into the wild as he has no fear of humans or other animals.

Steve and Janine sought advice from experts at Blackpool Zoo after Mike went missing for two days and it was discovered he had been in Accrington after a woman who had seen Mike's story contacted the couple.

Janine said: "The advice is to build an aviary which would be connected to the kitchen window.

"Mike could fly in and out of the house and have the luxury of feeling like a wild bird in his aviary.

"It would be beyond cruel to keep him in a cage as he loves to fly around."

Janine added that while the costings for the aviary for have not been finalised they wanted to raise £1,000 to cover the price of the actual structure and they were hoping that labour may be provided by locally based carpenters.

She added: "If we raise more than £1,000, any excess cash will be donated to other bird related charities."

Mike is currently grounded while the plan for the aviary comes together.

To make a donation log onto the crowdfunding website and search for Magpie Mike.