Missy the cat’s memory lives on in new sculpture

Back from left, Chris Bain, sculptor, the Mayor of Havant Faith Ponsonby, Stagecoach driver Craig Cockram and (front) owner of Missy the cat Richard McCormick. Picture: Sarah Standing (160807-1927)
Back from left, Chris Bain, sculptor, the Mayor of Havant Faith Ponsonby, Stagecoach driver Craig Cockram and (front) owner of Missy the cat Richard McCormick. Picture: Sarah Standing (160807-1927)
Picture: Shaun Roster

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SHE was a much-loved community cat known for curling up on the bench at a bus stop.

And when Missy the cat died, there was an outpouring of grief.

But now a sculpture has been unveiled in her honour so her memory will live on.

The people of Leigh Park were joined by the new mayor of Havant Faith Ponsonby, who unveiled a new bench, complete with a life-size wooden cat resembling Missy.

Cllr Ponsonby said: ‘Missy was loved by everyone in Leigh Park and now they have something to remember her by.’

After unveiling the memorial, Cllr Ponsonby praised the community spirit of Leigh Park.

She said: ‘It’s great to see how Missy brought this community together. It is typical of the people of Leigh Park.’

Missy’s owner Richard McCormick lives opposite the bench in Dunsbury Way.

The 73-year-old said: ‘After I had fed her every morning she would be out there on the bus stop welcoming everyone and being her friendly self.’

The bench has been built after a bus driver of the No39 route set up a fundraising account in Missy’s memory.

Mr McCormick, an ex-army serviceman said: ‘I can’t thank everyone enough. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support, with donations coming from as far as America.’

The memorial cost £1,700 to be built, but with over £5,000 raised, all remaining funds will go towards an animal charity, yet to be decided.

Craig Cockram, the bus driver who helped organise the memorial bench said: ‘It’s been amazing just how much money was raised, which allowed the bench to be built, and even raise some extra money for charity.’

Jackie Dorey, who lives a few doors down from the bench said: ‘I was like a second mum to Missy. She was such a lovely cat and meant so much to the local community.’

Kevin Randell, works in Leigh Park Community Centre opposite the bus stop.

He said: ‘I used to be able to see her out the window, she was the friendliest cat and would always come and say hello.’

Lesley Copeland, part of Havant Borough Council’s civil engineering and Landscape Team said: ‘I’m proud that the bench has been unveiled today, it means so much to the local community.’