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National Cat Awards - Winner!

27 August 2019
National Cat Awards - Winner!
Our branch was one of three finalists for the Star Award at this year’s National Cat Awards, we had submitted our new project at the Bath College, Radstock. Lisa, Mandy and I had to take part in a short film, Mandy was our Spokesperson, and said how the project would help the students to learn how to look after cats and that our branch would be able to use the four pens to house 8 rescued cats until we were able to rehabilitate them ready for rehoming.

We had three tickets for the National Cat Awards ceremony at The Savoy Hotel, London, on 8th August and unfortunately Lisa was unable to attend, so Hazel took her place. We had to be there by 12 noon and we were actually there twenty minutes beforehand. We were given our badges and taken into a room where there was a champagne reception. At 1pm lunch was served in another large room – several round tables seating 10 people at each table. There were probably 20 tables.

Several celebrities were present at the Awards – Tyger Drew-Honey, actor and film maker, noted for his role as Jake in the multi-award-winning BBC sitcom “Outnumbered”, Josh Dylan, actor who played Adam Hunter in “Allied” and also played “young Bill” in “Mamma Mia! Here we go again”, Lucrezia Millarini, a TV presenter who is regularly seen on the ITV Lunchtime and Weekend News as well as ITV News London. Deborah Meaden, Entrepreneur and businesswoman, best known for appearing as an investor in the BBC series “Dragons’ Den and Frankie and David Seaman, Frankie is a professional skater and starred in nine series of the ITV competition “Dancing on Ice” and her husband, David, is a former goalkeeper and played for Arsenal and Manchester City, winning the Premier League three times and starred in England’s run to the semi-finals of the European Championship in 1996. Tina Baker who was GMTV’s soap opera expert for more than 15 years and won ITV1’s Celebrity Fit Club, Liz Carr who is a comedian and actor and plays Clarissa Mullery in BBC1’s Silent Witness, Andrew Collins, an author scriptwriter and broadcaster and presents Saturday Night at the Movies on Classic FM. Paul Copley who plays Leonard Barry in “The Archers” and also appeared in “Downton Abbey” as Mr. Mason. Jo Hemmings, who is the UK’s best known TV psychologist and who regularly appears on shows like “Good Morning Britain” and “This Morning”, and finally Rick Wakeman who worked as a session musician playing on numerous hits before joining folk and rock band Strawbs.

After lunch Alan Dedicoat, a continuity announcer for BBC Radio and Television, was the Master of Ceremonies and he introduced all the categories and the three finalists for each category. It started with “Furr-ever Friends” and this was won by “Jeffree” owned by 13-year-old Finn Hackeson who has Asperger syndrome and the sudden death of his dad was devastating. Finding it difficult to communicate, Finn became locked in a cycle of depression and despair. Then along came former stray “Jeffree” and the pair quickly formed a close bond, helping Finn come to terms with his loss and cope with everyday life.

The second category “Most Caring Cat” was won by “Sparky” owned by Kirsty Ayre. Having lost both her parents within a year, Kirsty suffered another terrible ordeal when a laser pen was pointed into her face in a random attack. Left blind in one eye, Kirsty later developed post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet Sparky has been Kirsty’s constant support, never leaving her side and gently patting her face when a separatehealth condition causes Kirsty to faint.

The third category “PURINA® Better Together” was won by “Jethro” owned by Abigail Knight. Abigail was told she may never live independently after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital following treatment for serious mental health issued. The Jethro arrived and her life was transformed. When Jethro became ill with diabetes and a brain abscess, it was Abi’s turn to help him recover. Now the pair of them are happy, healthy and loving life together.

The next category “Hero Cat” was won by “Jack” owned by Marcia McSwegan. Everyday life can be scary for 23 year-old Marcia, who suffers from global autonomic dysfunction. This condition means that Marcia experiences sudden seizures causing her to blackout with no warning. Fortunately, Marcia has Jack, the 17-year-old family cat who, without any training, can sense the subtle changes leading up to a seizure and raises the alarm.

Outstanding Rescue Cat was won by “Nala” owned by Alex Eades. Charlotte and Nala were always the best of friends but when Charlotte was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, that friendship became even more important. With Nala at her side, Charlotte fought the bravest of battles until tragically she died aged just 19. Three years on, Nala still recognises Charlotte’s voice on her videos and helps Mum Alex keep her memory alive.

Finally it was The Star Team Award we were all on tenterhooks wondering if we had won, and we were delighted to hear that the Award had been given to our branch for an innovative collaboration spearheaded by volunteers, a four-pen mini cattery installed at a local college. Animal care students now provide day-to-day care for up to eight cats, under guidance from Cats Protection and supervised by teachers. The scheme means more cats in need are helped, while students get a greater understanding of feline welfare. We were given a glass trophy, a Certificate and a lovely bunch of Savoy Flowers.