Oak memorial bench for Leigh Park's bus stop cat
MISSY the cat is to be immortalised forever by a wooden bench.
The 12-year-old moggy was well-known across Leigh Park as the Bus Stop Cat because she would wait at the number 39 stop in Leigh Park as passengers got on and off the bus.
In February her death from horrific injuries led to an outpouring of grief from the public because it was initially thought she had been attacked. It is now believed she was hit by a car.
The sadness prompted online donations in her memory to the tune of £5,000 which is now being used for a permanent bench opposite her favourite spot – costing £1,700.
Missy’s owners have yet to decide which animal charity to donate the rest of the money, too.
No39 bus driver Craig Cockram set up the fund in Missy’s memory. He said he was staggered to see it rise so quickly with donations coming in from around the world.
Mr Cockram, a 48-year-old father-of-three, said: ‘The bench is actually being carved in oak right now.
‘It will have a carving of Missy sleeping at one end and it should be in place by the beginning of May.
‘We’re still waiting to hear which cat charity the family would like us to give it to.
‘I’m still absolutely amazed at how generous people were.
‘I never expected to raise that sort of money for a poor little cat – maybe about £300.
‘To raise £5,000 is just unbelievable.’
Following Missy’s death a shrine built up around the bus stop.
There were bouquets of flowers, paintings and photographs attached to it.
People adored the cat who would quietly sit on the bench all day long, happily letting passengers getting on and off the bus stroke her.
Mr Cockram added: ‘All the bus drivers knew her.
‘She was a lovely cat, always sitting at the bus stop.
‘It’s still hard to understand how she got her injuries because she never ever went near the road in all the years she would sit there.
‘After sitting at the bus stop all day she would just wander back to her house.’
The official unveiling will take place at the launch of the renamed Missy the Cat no39 bus by Stagecoach.
A date has yet to be set but is likely to be in early May.