A MEMORIAL has been unveiled in Uley in memory of a gorilla who was adopted into the community a century ago.

The ape, named John Daniel, lived in the village from 1918 to 1921, with his adoptive owner Alyce Cunningham.

The Uley Society commissioned the stone relief carving, which was unveiled by Alyce's relative Gillie Nicholls on the village green on Saturday afternoon.

Gillie said she didn't realise how unusual a 'family gorilla' was until she grew up.

"There were photos around the place, and when people asked about him, we’d say, 'That’s John Daniel, our family gorilla'.

"It didn’t seem anything out of the ordinary until we grew up and realised that it was very unusual."

The stone relief carving, sculpted from Portland stone, is the work of sculptor Sebastian Rasch.

Funded by the Uley Society, it shows John Daniel flanked by a number of school children.

Gillie says that the memorial could not be more appropriate.

"The actual memorial is absolutely brilliant," she said.

"It is a very tastefully carried out relief sculpture of John Daniel surrounded by children.

"Given that he spent a lot of time with the children of the village, the memorial could not be more appropriate.

"It is a lovely idea to have a memorial: what other village in the UK could say that, for three years, they had a gorilla living freely and openly within their community?"

Alyce Cunningham adopted John Daniel after he was captured as a baby in Gabon when his parents were shot by French officers.

Her brother bought the lowland gorilla for £300 in London.

Raised as a boy, John had a bedroom, was potty trained and made his own bed.

Sadly, the tale ended in tragedy after Alyce was tricked into selling him to a circus and he was moved to America.

He died there, it is believed, pining for Alyce.

"I’d like John Daniel to be remembered for the loving and intelligent animal that he was; a member of the village community who touched lots of people’s lives," said Gillie.

John Daniel only spent three years in the village, but now a hundred years on, the memorial will ensure that he is always remembered as part of the village.

Uley Society chairman, Andy Davis said: "The Uley Society committee felt it appropriate to allocate some of its funds to commission a stone relief carving by local sculptor Sebastian Rasch as a memorial to such a well-loved and extraordinary Uley character and which will perhaps also encourage us all to reflect on mankind's' treatment of wildlife and the natural world."