Posted: 27.03.21 at 16:31 by Ellie Brown
Tributes are pouring in for Freddie the seal after his tragic death this week.
The friendly pup was a regular on the stretch of the Thames near Richmond and was rescued from Teddington Lock just a month ago because he had a hook stuck in his mouth.
Last Sunday he was badly injured in a horrific dog attack at Hammersmith Bridge.
Vets made the decision to put him to sleep on Monday evening.
Details of Freddie's extraordinary life have now begun to emerge, including the origin of his name Freddie Mercury.
It has been reported in the papers that he was nicknamed after the Queen singer for his antics in the Thames.
But this is not true.
In fact, Freddie was christened ten months ago when he was rescued by Pieterburen Seal Sanctuary in Holland.
The grey harbour seal was found alone on a beach just a few days after he'd been born.
Freddie was underweight and had to go into intensive care. It was then that staff at the centre decided to name him after the famous singer.
"Freddie is named after Freddie Mercury and no one's gonna stop him now!" they wrote.
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"Help Freddie grow big and strong, donate a portion of fish to him."
He recovered at the centre and was later released into the wild.
Adorable videos of Freddie at the sanctuary are still on its YouTube channel
But the accident-prone pup was soon back in the care of humans.
Freddie swam to France where he developed lungworm and had an operation in Calais.
He later crossed the channel and made his way up the Thames to South West London.
Teddington Lock was one of his favourite hangouts.
But last month a fishing lure became stuck in his lip and a team of volunteers from British Divers and Marine Life Rescue had to rescue him.
They used a huge net to catch the injured seal and TV vet Scott Miller was on the scene.
Freddie was released on the Isle of Sheppey nearer the Thames Estuary, but two weeks later he was back.
For more details on Freddie's extraordinary life and his time at the sanctuary, you can visit their website
Rest in peace Freddie, we won't forget you.