A FRIENDLY pig adored by children at a local school that had been destined for the slaughterhouse has been saved at the 11th hour.

A group of 10 people are stumping up £50 each to buy Boris the Pig from Kingsmead School, Wiveliscombe, where he has lived for the past year.

News that Boris was due to be sent to the abattoir on Monday (June 27) provoked outrage among animal lovers.

Phones calls were made and e-mails fired off to headteacher Mark Williams pleading with him to reconsider.

And Mr Williams finally relented when the offer of £500 to take the pig off the school's hand was made.

Paul Youd took up Boris's case after he was contacted by the parent of a child at the school.

"Boris is a much-loved resident pig at Kingsmead. The children love him and regularly go to pat him," said Mr Youd.

"They'd have been devastated if anything happened to Boris, which is why we started the campaign to save him.

"What kind of a message would slaughtering Boris have sent to the students?

"Pigs are sentient and as intelligent as a three-year-old child.

"We simply wanted to allow Boris to leave out his days in peace and harmony."

Inspired by Mr Youd, fellow animal lover Kevin Doherty rounded up nine supporters to raise £500 to rescue Boris.

The pig is being taken in by a couple in Wiveliscombe until a permanent home can be found for him.

"I've been told he can stay there as long as needed," said Mr Doherty.

"It's great if he can be kept locally so that the children who have bonded with him can go along to see him.

"When Paul told me about Boris it really tugged at my heart strings.

"I'd love to go to Wiveliscombe to meet the fellow. It's like he's won the lottery."

A Kingsmead spokesperson said: "Kingsmead School is aware of the recent interest surrounding the pig we have on site as part of our current agriculture course.

"We can confirm that we have been in discussions with an individual regarding the purchase of our pig at an appropriate market-rate price.

"We are informed that the owner intends to allow the pig to live out its full natural life.

"The proceeds of the sale will be used to support the new animal care and agriculture courses which form an important part of our curriculum provision.

"We will be making no further comment on this matter."