Concatulations : Roberts home is saved ...
16 April 2019
Sixteen-thousand signed the Petition to ‘Save Walsall Road allotments' in March – home to Robert and 6 other feral cats – and on the 11 April, national Pet Day, a reprieve was announced.
The allotments had been threatened with closure by Birmingham City Council in the run-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It was considered ‘expendable, and could provide a traffic queuing area’ for the event.
But thanks to Betty Farruggia, Allotments secretary for eleven years, volunteers with North Birmingham Cats Protection and supporters from far and wide, the allotments – and the cats living there - are no longer under threat.
Celebration day: Betty invited everyone (not 16,000!) along to a ‘bit of a do’ at the allotments on Sunday 14 April. She says ‘it went really well - so many people turned up the veranda was packed. They brought plenty of food and drink to share, and lovely presents for Robert - including gift-wrapped tins of tuna fish!’
Betty, who lives in Perry Barr, is the human voice behind the 'save the allotments' petition headed-up by Robert the allotment cat – who has 9,000+ twitter followers.
And at the 11th hour on the 11th day of April, following a ‘low key meeting with Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward’ – the announcement ‘saving the allotments’ was made – to the relief of everyone involved. Reporters were soon at the scene and the story made the TV news. Robert, sensing this was ‘good mews’, even sat on Ian Ward’s lap and allowed a stroke or two!
Cats Protection has been involved in placing feral cats and cats not suitable for homing on the allotments for several years.
Confirms volunteer Jenny Reynolds: “the loss of the allotments would have been devastating for humans and cats alike. Leading the cat colony is Robert the Allotment Cat - the friendliest of the bunch - and there's Dorothy, ginger tom Red Fred, earless ET, Janet, who has a limp, Barbara (who is actually a tom), and a black and white originally from Falcon Lodge – Miss Gloria Glover.
“It's a lovely community at Walsall Road. People are doing everything right - they are growing vegetables, getting out in the fresh air, working together. There are 22 different nationalities represented and they all get along. Now the peace and pleasure of the allotments is preserved.”