Sad death of Vaux horse brings happy memories and touching tributes

Justin the horse.
Justin the horse.

The sad passing of Justin, who is believed to have been the last Vaux horse, has brought back fond memories for Sunderland folk.

Readers have been paying their respects to the proud animal, who spent his final years as a much-loved feature at Beamish Museum.
Among those paying their respects was Clive Lee, who worked with the Vaux horses before the brewery's closure.

Justin the horse.

Justin the horse.

"They were the finest horses in the country," he said.

"I traveled the country with the show horses to Royal Ascot, Windsor, Hampton Court, and other great shows. They were a great advert for the brewery."

Claire Stronach said: "I am very proud to say I worked for Vaux first as a YT, then got kept on within the company and always loved seeing the horses on a daily basis, they were what made Vaux a great place to work."

Elaine Newton said: "My dad worked for Vaux for many years, he was the first driver to get a tanker, but the horses always stole the show delivering around the town. Beautiful animals."

Mac Mckenzie said: "I remember my dad taking me into the tack room what a sight all the brass and leather sparkling with a great deal of pride and effort put into it. Loved seeing those horses round town another sight that reminded me I was home."

Mal Robinson said: "Fond memories of the dray horses in Sunderland and also seeing them at Beamish. Gentle giants and always a wonderful sight."

Maxine Davis said: "I remember working at Vaux in my younger years, going to the stables to see those magnificent horses, they were beautiful animals. My parents also had the Dray and Horses at Southwick, and the barrels were always delivered by them. The chef used to always give them a sneaky carrot. Fond memories."

David Buwie even went as far as penning a poem in tribute to the beasts: "Horse of Vaux, you ran the course, delivered the ale that past the lips of man and woman.

"Across the decades a mane flew full, a bottle of Double to tempt the soul - we wish you speed where glory and gold await in lofty fields, our Vaux horse."

Mark James Chapman called for a tribute to the Vaux horses in the city centre.

"Some sort of monument in Keel Square is appropriate in this situation," he said.