Swale CP founder reaches a milestone
30 years ago, while Pat Cash was winning Wimbledon, London City airport was opening and U2 were releasing their famed album The Joshua Tree, Val Hadnutt was busy founding a new branch for Cats Protection, the Isle of Sheppey branch.
Already a volunteer at the Bredhurst shelter (as it was known then), Val was convinced by the warden to start a new branch from her home in Minster, Isle of Sheppey. Always up for a challenge and wanting to help more cats, Val set about organising a small team of fellow cat lovers to help her out. They needed pens for the cats and of course, they don’t come for free, so Val and her 3 volunteers all took extra work on from a local factory putting together electrical components in their spare time, after work and at weekends to earn the money.
After doing this for a while, they had enough money to start the build and luckily enough, Val knew a man who would make the pens and build them in her garden for just £30 each. National CP paid for the concrete bases to go down, with the newly formed Isle of Sheppey branch paying for the pens to be erected. The first cats then arrived!
Fast forward a whole year and many cats later, Val at last managed to find a Treasurer and a few more fosterers for her branch. It has since grown in strength with many great volunteers helping out along the way.
Hundreds of cats have been taken care of by Val over these past 30 years, but for the first 10 years, with her late husband Tony beside her until he passed in 1995, Val held down a full time job at the Weidmuller factory on the island while also being fosterer, co-ordinator and fundraiser for the branch. Their foster daughter Frances also played a large part in helping Val and Tony care for the cats, so it was a true family effort.
Recently, Val has been awarded the title of Honorary Chair for the renamed Swale Cats Protection branch, a title she rightly deserves.
To celebrate Val’s 30 years with CP, a few of the volunteers past and present gathered to celebrate with her. As a thank you for her long and loyal service, Val was presented with a beautiful bronze cat statue by our current branch co-ordinator Marlene.
From all of the cats and from everyone in Cats Protection … THANK YOU VAL!!
An amazing achievement from an amazing lady.