The fishy tale of Sparky the Ellesmere Port goldfish still going strong 22 years later

Sparky the goldfish Credit: Liverpool Echo

Is this Britain's oldest goldfish? Its owner certainly thinks so.

Tony Blair was Prime Minister, Liverpool reigned supreme as UEFA Cup champions, and an unknown child actor called Daniel Radcliffe was about to make his big movie debut when Nicol Arathoon paid a visit to her local garden centre and bought a goldfish in a plastic bag.

Nicol with her beloved pet goldfish Sparky Credit: Liverpool Echo

Nicol, from Ellesmere Port, bought Sparky 22 years ago.

And, despite one or two health scares, old Sparky is still going strong, and defying the odds as anyone knows who has kept a goldfish.

Nicol thought her pet's time was up eight weeks ago when she found him curled up at the bottom of his tank.

But he perked up after Nicol spent £60 on swim bladder treatments, and switched his food from 99p pellets to premium flakes.

Then there was the time Sparky has had a lucky escape, as he was found floating upside down in his tank six years ago after a run-in with a sausage roll.

Sparky the goldfish enjoying a little snack Credit: Liverpool Echo

Nicol said: "My niece threw a sausage roll in the tank.

"We had a really bad scare, I was crying my eyes out because he looked like he was dead and he was belly-up at the top of the tank.

"We just changed his water, and he came back to life."