A BELOVED rescue animal who has been described as the “face of the sanctuary” has sadly died unexpectedly leaving his many admirers heartbroken.

Clarence the Highland Steer, famous for his extremely lengthy 5ft horns, arrived at the Greenland Grove Animal Sanctuary, in St Osyth, 13 years ago.

Alongside his mum Rosie, Clarence became an instant hit with visitors to the popular safe haven, resulting in thousands of pictures and selfies with fans.

Although initially very nervous, it was not long before the 700kg beast hit the Gazette headlines for refusing to play ball with vets attempting to test him for TB.

The story was then picked up nationally and helped the sanctuary overcome its money troubles as Clarence proved popular across the globe.

Clarence, adored for his lengthy orange hair, cheeky character, and occasionally bullish ways, has now died resulting in an outpouring of tributes online.

Heartbroken Carol, who founded the sanctuary roughly 27 years ago, said: “Clarence put out sanctuary on the map and up until this day still have supporters worldwide.

“We always said Clarence saved the sanctuary and he was a very unlikely hero, but as the years passed, he loved the attention and was a huge favourite with everyone.

“He had been in excellent health and his death is totally unexpected, but he seems to have died naturally and peacefully in his usual spot in the middle of the field.

“He was so loved, and the face of the sanctuary and it will never be the same without him – it is heart-breaking.”

Devastated Carol, who works alongside Martin Bailey, has found solace in the fact Clarence will now be reunited with his mum, who died a couple of years ago.

“He guarded her body for two days before we could get near her, but he moved on and still got up to the same shenanigans he always had,” added Carol.

“When we found Clarence, he had died on the same spot as his mum, so he has been reunited with his mum now.

“Fly-high Clarence, our beautiful boy, you made a huge impact on our sanctuary and that will never be forgotten.”

To find out more about the Greenland Grove Animal Sanctuary visit facebook.com/greenlandgroveanimalsanctuary/