Tributes have been paid to Stinker the ferret, who was voted Isle of Man Newspapers’ Pet of the Year and had thousands of followers on social media.

Stinker, who was six years old, lived on Moorhouse farm in Colby, also won ’Most Supportive Pet (for innovation and lifting community spirit) in the Isle of Man Care Awards - presented to him by the then Lieutenant Governor, Sir Richard Gozney.

He received this award after his Facebook page rose to popularity during the first lockdown.

His owner Sally-Ann Maiden said that with a worldwide following, there were countless people who messaged in to the page to ’talk’ to Stinker.

She explained that these included children and elderly people who might have been feeling lonely, and their interaction with Stinker’s page seemed to be a source of comfort for them.

Hundreds of comments from people poured in on the posts announcing Stinker’s death.

Sally-Ann said: ’In the dark days of Covid lockdown, Mr Stinks was a little ray of light in at dark time, just lightening spirits when we had no idea when it would all end.

’Stinker would get direct messages and would reply.

’He sent happy birthday messages and messages to the children of Key Workers, he was taken to the hearts of so many and would always say "Goodnight" often to lonely people that hadn’t spoken to anybody in the day.’

She added: ’We have been truly overwhelmed by the messages from across the world, cards and flowers after his passing.’