A Party Fit for a King!

One of Ruddington’s most popular residents is set to celebrate his tenth birthday in style – thanks to two of his favourite village centre haunts.

The now rather infamous Wilbur The Cat even has his own Facebook page “Wilbur – King of Ruddington” – and is also on Instagram – so that he may communicate directly with his subjects and to enable his many fans to cat-alogue his adventures! Wilbur is arguably one of the most loved and photographed felines in the country now, due to his penchant for visiting our local traders for a stroke, a sleep and quite frequently a little bit of something to eat or drink!

Photo by Pam Pearce

Villager Nicola Burton is the person responsible for Wilbur’s appearance on social media. She told RUDDINGTON.info: “I’ve pondered about setting up the Facebook page for a while. Myself and a few Ruddington friends have said for the last year or so he’s such a local legend he needed his own Facebook page and we joked about it, thought it would be interesting and amusing just for people to post where they spot him, what he’s up to, etc! I’ve lived in Ruddington for over ten years and have always loved how close the community is, and Wilbur is a part of the community, and so well known, I thought it would be nice for the village and his followers/fans and just a bit of fun!” Since the start of May, the ginger and white cat has already gained around 450 followers!

His “official” owner, Cathy Appelbee, describes Wilbur as “a boy with his own mind” who took exception when some young upstarts arrived at his residence. “He was an ‘only’ cat for a few years but took umbridge when I brought home a couple of rescue kittens, packed his bags and left home” explains Cathy. “He favours various locations and pubs around the village and stops traffic on a regular basis. I miss him a lot and so am very grateful that everyone loves him so much and love the fact that he has his own FB page even more!! I do worry about him – especially if I don’t see him for a few days – so the fact that people post pictures of him really reassures me.”

In fact, Wilbur risks one of his nine lives several times each day, by nonchalantly crossing Ruddington’s busy High Street. Villager Barbara Breakwell also recalls: “Wilbur definitely asserted his authority in this village when he ambled across the High Street literally seconds before the Tour of Britain thundered through Ruddington last September!” Subsequently, he was held up high above the crowds as the cyclists sped by.

Wilbur has been known to succesfully sneak past shop owners about to lock up for the day. As a result he once spent the Saturday night, Sunday and Monday of a Bank Holiday Weekend in Phoenix Flowers! Thankfully owner Cathy spotted her wayward pussycat and managed to feed him through the letterbox – so he was only a little grouchy when he finally got out for his early morning constitutional on the Tuesday!

Wilbur ‘resting’ at Phoenix Flowers – captured by Adele Siepmann

Other favoured destinations include Philo’s Deli, The Red Lion, Classic Cuts, Jasper’s Café, Perkins’ Hardware, The Frame Breakers and Nottingham Building Society.

To show their appreciation for his generous patronage, The Frame Breakers has agreed to host a special party for their furry friend – to mark his ten years as a village celebrity! It’s being organised by Sarah Godfrey and Wilbur’s new publicity agent Nicola. You can find the details >>HERE<<.

Photo by Claire O’Callaghan

Wilbur tells THE RUDD: “My party is on Sunday 14th July, 4pm ’til closing. I want to give back to my fans so I’m crowdfunding for more lifesaving defibrillators in the village. Any extra money raised that evening will go to heart charities. So it’s going be a purrfectly great village get together. My friends will be selling Wilbur merchandise, cupcakes and little knitted Wilburs for the charitable cause. I’ve heard there’ll be tails for sale! A birthday cake will be baked by my talented friends from Jasper’s Café. The pub will be putting on cat themed drinks (hair of the cat/pink panther etc) and a raffle. The Frame Breakers have been very generous and will be putting on a fantastic evening for all. Please get in touch with my Facebook page if you would like to contribute towards the raffle.”

The Wilbur T-shirts produced by Ruddington Print Solutions went down a storm when they first went on sale at this year’s RuddFestEmma Scott and her guild are behind the fundraising knitted Wilburs (and friends!).

For those who can’t make his main celebration, Nottingham Building Society is also having a smaller daytime party on Friday July 5th to pay homage to their regular customer.

Whether, in fact, Wilbur will decide to actually turn up for either of his 10th birthday celebrations is a bit of a grey area. It’s hoped villagers will keep an eye out for him on both these special days, and encourage him to attend… if he can be bothered with all the fuss.


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