Rescuers go the extra mile to save cat from an Ilfracombe chimney
- Credit: Archant
Rescuers pulled out all the stops to save a cat that had been trapped up an Ilfracombe chimney for six days.
Jenny and David Williams of AD Williams funeral directors had been hearing a cat mewing and scrabbling coming from a disused bedroom chimney at their Portland Street premises for several days.
They called in Diana Lewis and North Devon Animal Ambulance and were adamant that a rescue should be attempted regardless of any damage to the chimney.
Diana made numerous calls to companies that used flexi-cameras in awkward areas so the cat could be located and she struck gold with Metro Rod in Exeter.
Receptionist Claire Griffin said she'd speak to her boss and get back to them - 10 minutes later she reported that engineer Lee Rendell was coming all the way from the other side of Exeter and would be with them in two hours.
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The rescue party gathered in the bedroom, joined by Ilfracombe fire fighters, and everyone held their breath.
Lee's high-tech camera discovered him some 30 to 40 feet up the chimney, looking terrified and weak, but the sight of the camera promoted him to follow it and he made a less than graceless exit from the chimney, to be caught by the fire service.
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Mrs Williams told the Gazette she had met with the grateful owners of the missing cat, named Cat, who said he was currently being cared for at the NDAA clinic in Barnstaple.
She said once they knew he was still alive, none of the rescuers were willing to leave until Cat had been saved.
Dave Tafner, operations manager at Metro Rod, said: "We could not refuse when someone comes with a story like that.
"It touched the heart strings, so the least we could do was send somebody up there.
"The camera got quite close to the animal and there is some footage of it playing with the camera lens and building up a bit of confidence to take the plunge and realise it could come down."
Diana praised all those who had helped and said it renewed faith in humanity.
She added: "The daily news is full of horror and stories of inhumanity but the endless individual acts of kindness seem to receive little or no acknowledgement. In this case a number of people gave their time and expertise to help a cat.
"It could have been an abused child, a homeless person or someone who fell in the street. The fact is that we should all be grateful that we still live in a country where ordinary citizens care enough to put their lives on hold to do something that will improve another life."