Brother and sister rescue cats based at Sussex hospice win national awards

Two rescue cats based at St Peter & St James Hospice scooped two awards at a glitzy national ceremony earlier this week.

Siblings Jasper and Willow won not only their category of Outstanding Rescue Cat but also the prestigious Cat(s) of the Year award at this year's National Cat Awards run by charity Cats Protection.

Front of house manager Jackie said: "We are over the moon. Since they've been with us, they've brought comfort to so many people. Jasper and Willow really go to show how special rescue cats are, and we're so proud of them both.”

Many staff members make up the dedicated team at St Peter & St James Hospice and even the smallest of them can have a massive impact on patients, their family and friends.

Willow with Charlie

The hospice’s two cats, brother and sister, were adopted from Cats Protection in Chelwood Gate in 2018 and quickly became an integral part of the community. The cats regularly spend time with any patients and visitors who like cats, offering comfort. A lot of time is spent sitting and watching; having our cats to stroke really helps, making it more homely. The two cats each have their own personality. Jasper is more gregarious whilst Willow is shy, each suiting some residents better than the other but both are black and white, with the softest fur.

Jackie added: “We often get comments from patients and those close to them, telling us how much comfort and joy the cats bring during their stay at the hospice.”

The hospice provides expert care to anyone living with a life-limiting illness in the community. Support extends to friends and families too. Its area includes Ashdown Forest, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Lewes, Uckfield and everywhere in between.

The awards ceremony was held at London’s Savoy Hotel on Thursday (August 4).

Jo and Jackie with the awards

The panel of celebrity judges included Manchester City footballer and England Lioness Ellen White, actress Gaynor Faye, TV and radio broadcaster Riyadh Khalaf, BBC weather presenter Elizabeth Rizzini and drag artist Ginny Lemon.

As the first ever joint winners of the title, the feline pair will share a trophy and a prize package which includes a £200 pet store voucher.