MISSY the Bus Stop Cat is to be remembered forever – after a bus company agreed to name a vehicle after her.
The friendly 12-year-old pet was well-known across Leigh Park for waiting at the 39 bus stop in Dunsbury Way to greet commuters.
But she had to be put down last week after suffering horrific injuries which are believed to have been the result of being hit by a car.
More than £3,000 has been raised in her memory for local animal charities after bus drivers at Stagecoach set up a fundraising page for her.
And now the company has gone a step further by agreeing to name one of its number 39 buses after her, and paint it with a picture of the ginger and white moggy.
Bob Jackson, operations manager at Stagecoach, said: ‘Like many others, we were shocked and very saddened to hear what happened to Missy and our thoughts are with her owners.
She was a friendly cat who was known to many of our bus drivers and customers as she was often found at the bus stop, and even attempted to board the bus on a few occasionsStagecoach operations manager Bob Jackson
‘She was a friendly cat who was known to many of our bus drivers and customers as she was often found at the bus stop, and even attempted to board the bus on a few occasions.
‘We felt that naming a route 39 bus after Missy would be fitting tribute, and an excellent suggestion by our driver Craig Cockram.’
Mr Cockram said: ‘We initially wanted to set up the fund to get a plaque for Missy in the shelter.
‘The total has gone way beyond our expectations and any money left over will be donated to a local charity, selected by Missy’s owners.’
There was an outpouring of grief following Missy’s sad death with schools in Leigh Park breaking the news to pupils in special assemblies.
A shrine of flowers and cards has been created at the Dunsbury Road bus stop, opposite Park Parade, where she would sit each day waiting to be stroked as passengers got on and off the number 39.
Posting on Facebook Derek Small said: ‘My son when we are on the bus always loved seeing Missy at the bus stop, she always made him smile and happy.’
There was initially some confusion over how Missy came by her injuries with her family originally believing them to be the result of a vicious attack. But it is now thought it was more likely Missy was hit by a car.
Police say they are still keeping an open mind about how the Missy’s injuries were caused.
Anyone with information should contact Havant police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.