£5k raised for statue of St Andrews cat Hamish

A STATUE of Scotland’s most famous cat is to be unveiled this weekend after locals raised £5,000 to erect it.

Hamish McHamish, Scotland's 'most famous cat'. Picture: Submitted
Hamish McHamish, Scotland's 'most famous cat'. Picture: Submitted

Residents of St Andrews, Fife, banded together to buy the bronze statue of Hamish McHamish, the town cat, as their answer to Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Bobby.

The 14-year-old cat originally belonged to St Andrews resident Marianne Baird, but walked out at the age of one and has since become the town’s collective pet, wandering between houses, shops and university buildings.

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He was brought to national attention with the publication of a book last year called Hamish McHamish, Cool Cat About Town by Susan McMullan, and has his own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The statue, which as designed by David Annand, will be revealed by the Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman in the town’s Church Square on Saturday 5 April.

Flora Selwyn, editor of the St Andrews in Focus magazine, launched a fundraising drive among locals for the statue in 2013.

The money was raised through public donations and grants from the Community Council, the Community Trust, and the R&A.

Local stonemason Colin Sweeney dedicated time to make the plinth and the celebratory event to mark the unveiling is being funded by Fife Council.

The local community are invited to attend the event, which will feature a performance by St Andrews Opera and a cappella group The Alleycats, and have been encouraged to dress up as cats.

After learning that Fife Council had approved the plans back in November, Ms Selwyn said: “It is lovely that we will have a rival to Greyfriars Bobby, it will be one-up for St Andrews.

“It has been a very popular idea. Hamish is a wonderful animal.

“Our statue is a way of saying thank you to Hamish for being so ‘purrfectly’ adorable and to celebrate him and the joy he brings us.”

Hamish’s former owner, Ms Baird, a retired BBC producer, ensures the ginger cat has a yearly check-up with a vet, but he mostly enjoys a nomadic existence as the town’s collective pet, often found at places where he is guaranteed a pet and a bite to eat.

Greyfriars Bobby, the Edinburgh Skye terrier reputed to have sat by his owner’s grave daily for 14 years, was not commemorated until a year after his death in 1872.