By Sue Mackinnon
His portrait has graced magazines and exhibitions and now Kurk the Knowle West turkey has new accolades under his wing.
Few birds can say they have met two city Mayors in one night… But that’s what happened when Kurk, from Andy’s Haven Nursery at the Park, was honorary guest at the opening of the “24 Hours in Bristol” photography exhibition on November 15.
A photo of Kurk with owner Andy Moseley displayed in Bristol’s Guildhall came in the top 72 of the thousand pictures entered for the competition. Photographers had just 24 hours to take their winning shots of life around the city.
Kurk and Andy, along with others who had been photographers’ subjects, were asked to attend the awards ceremony and pose alongside their portrait.
The Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr Faruk Choudhury opened the show and Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson presented the overall winners with certificates.
And there were no ruffled feathers when both were asked if they would like to meet Kurk and dully posed with him and picked him up.
A heavy bird weighing around 30 lbs this was no mean feat, but Kurk dutifully obliged in the name of art and to add another string to his bow.
Owner Andy (59) says: “He loves being stroked by people. Everyone was asking if he was going to be eaten for Christmas – but he’s a pet. He’s the biggest attraction to our community garden – everyone wants to be photographed with him.”
So where is Kurk to go from here? At only two and a half years old he has already appeared in a television documentary. Is film the next venture?
Andy says: “He’s a real star and I don’t think there’s a glass ceiling for him – he’ll just go on and on with his career.”
Kurk was adopted by Andy and brought to the community garden after a fox killed all the other turkeys on his farm. His extreme attachment to Andy and friendliness has enthralled local people who flock to see him every day.
While the garden exists soley by selling produce and eggs and has no funding – Kurk brings plenty of publicity.
“If I had a pound for every picture that’s been taken with him, I’d be a rich man,” says Andy.
Dirk Opitz, a photojournalist from Bristol’s twin town of Hanover took the photo of Kurk and Andy for the competition. He first met the pair after visiting Knowle West Media Centre in the summer and being introduced to the area. He was so impressed with the community garden he came back in October to take the photo
He says: “I think Andy loves what he does and the place where he works. And I like the garden – I think he is good for the community.”