Community Local News

Forever in Bronze: Honouring Jess the Beloved Station Cat with a Just Giving Tribute

In the heart of Andover, there lived a feline legend, a beloved cat named Jess, who for 13 years graced the town’s railway station with his comforting presence.

Jess’s story began when he was abandoned by his previous owners who had moved away, leaving the gentle cat to find solace in the bustling world of Andover station. Little did anyone know that this abandoned cat would become a cherished companion to weary travellers and station staff alike.

As the years unfolded, Jess’s endearing antics and affectionate nature won the hearts of the local community. A Facebook group, aptly named “Jess the Andover station cat,” became a hub for sharing tales of his escapades, attracting more than 3,000 members. It was through this online community that the news of Jess’s passing and the desire to immortalize his memory spread like wildfire.

Andy Woods, a 54-year-old Andover resident and former employee of S & J Maddocks, a funeral directors near the station, took it upon himself to ensure Jess’s legacy endured. He envisioned a lasting tribute—a bronze, life-sized statue of Jess, forever stationed at Andover’s railway hub. With a fundraising goal of £5,000, Andy launched a campaign to turn this vision into reality.

Jess’s legacy lives on, not just in the hearts of those who adored him but also through a dedicated Just Giving page that has recently gone live. The fundraising initiative aims to collect £5,000 to commission a bronze, life-sized statue of the beloved Andover station cat. Amy Goodman, a talented artist, and a fond admirer of Jess, has graciously agreed to undertake the commission at cost, adding a personal touch to this heartfelt tribute.

In a thoughtful decision, the fundraiser opted for Just Giving over Go Fund Me, recognizing that the former charges a more modest 5%, allowing a larger portion of the donations to contribute directly to the cause. To streamline the process for donors unfamiliar with the Just Giving platform, it’s worth noting that the suggested ‘Tip’ on the page can be adjusted to £1.50, covering the running costs of the website.

The Just Giving page, accessible through the link, has become the focal point for those eager to contribute to the realization of Jess’s statue. The funds raised will not only immortalize Jess but also ensure that his memory continues to bring comfort to future travellers passing through Andover station.

A heartfelt thank you is extended to everyone who has played a part in bringing this initiative to fruition. The generosity and support displayed by the community demonstrate the profound impact that Jess had on the lives of those who crossed his path. As the donations continue to pour in, Jess’s Just Giving page stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of a feline friend who became an integral part of Andover’s railway station and community.

The outpouring of support from the community was immediate and heartfelt, with donations quickly surpassing the £1,000 mark. On the fundraising page, Andy shared the sentiment of many: “Jess, as we all know, was a much-loved cat and friend to many. His loss has been felt by many, and the aim of this fundraiser is to ensure that he will always be remembered. So that no weary traveller will ever feel alone, Jess will bid you farewell and welcome you home.”

Despite his grumpy appearance, Jess was, in truth, a loving and gentle soul, always ready for a cuddle or an ear scratch. South Western Railway acknowledged the affection from the local community, recognizing the unique bond that had formed between Jess and the travellers passing through the station.

As the fundraising efforts continue, Jess’s memory will not only live on in the hearts of those who knew him but also in the form of a lasting tribute—a bronze statue that will forever embody the spirit of the beloved Andover station cat. The community’s response demonstrates the profound impact animals can have on our lives, turning a simple railway station into a place filled with fond memories and the enduring presence of a cat named Jess.