A group of teenagers from Londonderry have been hailed as “heroes” after reuniting an 83-years-old local woman with her loved pet cat.
The boys, who are all pupils at Lisneal College, found ‘Marley’ the cat 11 days after he took off from the Lapwing Way home of his owner, Greta Taylor, who has dementia and failed to return.
Greta’s family had appealed for help to find the little blue cat, who was rescued as a kitten by a local couple from the Culmore Point area.
‘Marley’ had jumped the fence and followed a little ginger and white cat across to the area around the community centre at Heron Way, but while the other cat returned home, ‘Marley’ did not.
The family were particularly concerned as ‘Marley’ had meant so much to Greta and as he rarely left the immediate surroundings of the house, he was likely to become disorientated.
Greta’s daughter, Annette, said they were absolutely delighted to get the call that he had been found.
“It was four young boys from Lisneal College who found him and to us they are our heroes,” she said.
“Marley was under decking not very far away in the same area. The boys, Jack Milligan, Jack Boyd, Amir Bounaja and Sam Gibson, kept their eye on him while we were contacted.
“The cat had lost a lot of weight and he seemed scared, but he came out for my sister Julie. He seemed to have been drinking rain water.
“We are planning to write a letter to the school so they can be mentioned in assembly. Our faith has been restored in young people,” added Annette
“We had been offering a reward but they turned down the money. They said, ‘no, no, it was a pleasure finding him,’ but we said ‘no, yous are taking it. They have split it between them. It’s lovely to have a nice positive ending.”
The boys who have since met with Greta and Annette said that it was an amazing moment seeing her mother reunited with ‘Marley.’
“The smile on her face, it would paint a picture. It was priceless.”
In launching the appeal to help find ‘Marley,’ Annette spoke of how the cat came into their lives not long after the tragic loss of her father, Greta’s husband.
Annette said at the time: “He is very important to our family and very important to my mum and her routine.
“Seven years ago the local couple found him as a kitten at Culmore Point and they took it up to my uncle Joe Taylor, knowing he was good with animals, my uncle thought this would be lovely for my mum.”
“My father, Jim had, back then, passed away and we thought this was a lovely wee gift from my dad in heaven for my mum. She has looked after ‘Marley’ ever since.
“His presence helps my mum every day as she has a touch of Dementia and was really missing Marley.
Greta said her mother was now in hospital with a knee complaint adding that the stress of ‘Marley’ being missing was likely to have contributed to her health issue.
However, the family is very much looking forward to Greta getting out of hospital and her and Marley getting to spend some quality time back at home together.