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Dame Penelope Keith to re-open Cats Protection's Haslemere Adoption Centre

26 September 2016
Dame Penelope Keith to re-open Cats Protection
Dame Penelope Keith to re-open Cats Protection's Haslemere Adoption Centre

Actress and cat lover Dame Penelope Keith will officially reopen Cats Protection's Haslemere Adoption Centre following a major refurbishment – nearly 70 years after it became the charity’s first rehoming centre.

The centre, in Upper Hammer Lane, will celebrate its new look with an official re-opening and fun day on Saturday 8 October from 10am with a host of fun activities for all the family.

Dame Penelope, who became one of the nation’s best loved actresses after appearing in shows such as The Good Life and To the Manor Born, will cut a ribbon to mark the re-launched centre at 12pm.

Now the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year, Cats Protection had just begun to expand when it opened the site in 1950 as its first cat shelter.

Having been bequeathed to Cats Protection by a wealthy cat lover, the site – a former manor house – was developed to provide 40 cat pens to care for unwanted and abandoned cats while they waited to find a new owner.

The centre proved to be vital in providing a blueprint for 31 other centres which have since opened and now work alongside the charity’s 250 volunteer-run branches to form the UK’s biggest cat charity.

But having been largely untouched since the 1950s, the Surrey centre – which rehomes around 550 cats every year – was in urgent need of modernisation.

Following a nine-month long programme of work, the centre will now reopen with modern new facilities including improved cat pens and viewing areas, upgraded veterinary facilities and better car parking and public areas.

Cats Protection’s Development Manager Guy Chadwick said: “Cats Protection owes a great deal to the community in Haslemere who have been immensely supportive of our work. Back in 1950, the opening of a new centre dedicated to helping unwanted cats was a bold step, but the success of our Haslemere site proved there was a real desire to help cats in need.

“For nearly 70 years, our Haslemere Adoption Centre has helped give countless cats and kittens a second chance in life, as well as helping hundreds of people find a much loved family pet.

“But as well as that, our Haslemere has helped us shape the charity Cats Protection is today by giving us a great example on which to base our other centres.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone in Haslemere and the surrounding areas who have always been so supportive of our work, and hope that many of them will join us in celebrating our official re-opening.

“We are thrilled and honoured that Dame Penelope will be joining us on the day to lend her support and help us mark such an important occasion for Cats Protection.”

Dame Penelope said: “Cats Protection does a tremendous amount to help unwanted and abandoned cats, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the new centre. It will also be a pleasure to meet fellow cat lovers on the day, and of course to say hello to the cats and kittens currently being cared for by Cats Protection.”

Visitors to the re-opening celebration will also be able to meet some of the cats currently in the care of Cats Protection’s Haslemere Adoption Centre looking for a new home.
One puss hoping to find a new owner is four-year-old Freddie, who has been in the care of Cats Protection for three months. Black puss Freddie was handed in because he didn’t get on with another cat in the household and now needs a home where he can have plenty of outdoor space as well as a cosy sofa to curl up on.

To find out more about the work of Cats Protection, please visit www.cats.org.uk

For more information or a photo of Freddie or Dame Penelope Keith, please contact Michaela at Adastra Media on michaela@adastramedia.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
1.     Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps 500 cats a day – or around 200,000 cats each year - through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.
2.     Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
3.     Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland).Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
4.     More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk