DONATIONS are being welcomed for a memorial to Weymouth’s much-loved Danny the solitary dolphin, who died after being hit by a ship.

The dolphin had become a local celebrity in the area, delighting hundreds of residents and visitors in recent years in waters off Weymouth.

The lone bottlenose dolphin, who was regularly sighted in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, regularly thrilled tours of boat trippers by breaching out of the water just feet away from them.

He was found dead in Portland Harbour on Tuesday, and a necropsy examination carried out by the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme recorded the cause of death as a 'ship strike'.

Hundreds of messages have been posted on social media in honour of Danny – and now people are being given chance to donate to a fundraiser to have a memorial installed in his honour.

It is hoped the memorial could be made from Portland stone and erected in the harbour area.

People can donate to the memorial fund through the website of UK based charity, Marine Connection via their secure page and in the option to ‘write a note’ please enter code DD2020 so that they know your donation is specifically being made in memory of Danny.

Cetacean expert Liz Sandeman, co-founder of Marine Connection, said that Danny’s death was ‘devastating’, but that sadly many solitary dolphins have met the same, or similar fates, due to them becoming habituated and losing their natural wariness around humans and vessels.

Danny is believed to have first been sighted in Weymouth in early 2018.

A statement from Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme into the dolphin’s death reads: "It is with sadness that we can confirm that this was indeed ‘Danny’, a solitary bottlenose dolphin that had been resident in the region over the last few years.

"The findings from the examination carried out at Zoological Society London (ZSL) are considered to be consistent with acute physical trauma, as a result of shipstrike. A deep penetrating laceration on the right side of the body behind the head and other injuries to the tail stock and dorsal fin were likely due to sharp force trauma following impact from a large propeller."