Deaf church cat up for award after inspiring Ilkeston residents

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A deaf rescue cat from Kirk Hallam who brings comfort, inspiration and companionship to the local community has been named as a finalist in Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards 2018.

Former stray Florence beat hundreds of other entries to take her place as one of three contenders in the Outstanding Rescue Cat category, celebrating cats adopted from animal charities.

The eight-year-old puss was selected as a finalist in recognition of how she inspires the whole community in Kirk Hallam, where she lives with owner, the Rev Christine French, of All Saints’ Church.

Rev French said that Florence is a central part of church life, from welcoming brides on their wedding day to providing a comforting presence as mourners arrive for funerals.

Rev French and the church community at Kirk Hallam now face a wait until Thursday, August 2, when winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at London’s Savoy, an event attended by celebrities including BBC broadcaster Andrew Collins, model Lucy Pinder and Holby City actress Chizzy Akudolu.

If Florence wins her category, she will also be in with a chance of being crowned National Cat of the Year, following in the paw prints of previous winner Genie, a cat from Lincoln who helped schoolgirl Evie Henderson battle bone cancer.

Each category winner will receive a trophy, a £100 pet store voucher, a year’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat magazine and a three months’ supply of Purina® cat food for their cat.