Who remembers Freddy the dolphin?

Posted on 01st March 2023 | in Community , Heritage & Tourism

Who remembers Freddy the dolphin? He visited Amble harbour on a daily basis for around five years in the late 1980s and became a bit of a celebrity. Perhaps it was the delight he brought to an otherwise depressed and grimy former coal port, or perhaps it was the sheer uniqueness of such a beautiful and friendly wild creature happy to greet swimmers and sightseers.

Freddy the dolphin jumping out of the sea at Amble Harbour. He is catching a salmon.

Freddy catching his lunch at Amble harbour.  Photo: Martina Jäger 

Whatever it was, Freddy/Freddie the dolphin put Amble on the map, with celebrities, mystics, journalists and people from all over the world travelling and staying in Amble just so they could see and swim with him. You could buy ‘I love Freddy’ t-shirts and mugs in local shops. So we could argue he was the first catalyst for big tourism in Amble. He definitely brought friendly to ‘the Friendliest Port’.

Quite why this solitary Bottlenose dolphin chose to remain for so long in Amble’s filthy harbour waters (it was documented he had skin conditions probably due to cold water and sewage) is a mystery, but it did seem he loved the attention.

Freddy swimming alongside a tourist boat. Photo: Martina Jäger

There was an alleged incident with an animal campaigner, subsequently thrown out of court, but the biggest drama befell poor Freddy when a police boat drove over him. The propellor caused serious deep wounds over his torso, which took months to heal. Freddy left Amble about six months later, never to be seen again.

But some people still remember him. They remember the delight he brought with him (and the salmon he ate). Some even want to create a permanent memorial for him, preferably along the harbour. What do you think? A land owner would have to agree to a site. People would need to fundraise.

Should we have a statue for Freddy? We’ve set up a poll so you can let us know.

Should there be a statue for Freddy the dolphin in Amble? See https://www.theambler.co.uk/2023/03/01/who-remembers-freddy-the-dolphin/

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Anna Williams



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5 thoughts on "Who remembers Freddy the dolphin?"

  1. Diesel says:

    Remember him, he taught me how to swim proper! Wonder how many tourist 90s camcorder holiday vids we all must have appeared on. Happy memories.

  2. Kris Simpson says:

    Thanks for this article. I’m sitting on a ship in the Pacific, listening to Robin Petch of SeaWatch Foundation giving a talk about friendly wild dolphins. He’s talking about the time Freddie helped me back to Gordon’s boat when I was tired.
    We both have treasured memories of the time we spent with Freddie and the good people of Amble.
    Freddie certainly merits a statue!
    What a coincidence!

  3. helen osborne says:

    I lived in Amble as a child and remember when Freddie started visiting. I used to watch from the harbour pier and little shore and imagine i could talk dolphin and he would tell me of his adventures (Mainly what was on the other side of Coquet Island , the side i couldnt see) Cheekyness and mischeif are my best memories of him trying to get fish off the men on the boats coming in.

  4. Oxygen2023 says:

    Very little has been written about Freddy’s past. I far as I am concerned this is the little dolphin whose pod was intentionally killed by thugs in the late seventies.

    The pod was a beloved sight even before little Freddy appeared on the scene, however savages intentionally lured the friendly dolphins into a bay near Saltburn, I believe.

    Only an elder dolphin who went by the name ‘Flipper’ survived, wise enough to stay back from the shore. Little Freddy after being purposely torn from his family was rescued and reunited with Flipper. They had a number of companions and were of interest, communication-wise.

    By the late eighties, Freddy was still an interest to the hateful mob. I honestly believe his fame was orchestrated to save him; bring him to public attention.

  5. Lunar Surface says:

    Other companions including Humphrey, a humpback; an orca by the name of Frankie/Bertha and her baby – intentionally beached by the same monsters mentioned previously and left to die out of spite, possibly on the coast of Ireland, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

    Freddy was a cheeky northern monkey, although I am sure he was loved by many who saw him swimming in our British seas.

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