Mural bid for ‘celebrity’ cat killed in road accident

Local artist keen to include Rupert of Bankton as part of proposed project at Prestonpans Railway Station.

Mural bid for ‘celebrity’ cat killed in road accident LDRS

A cat who became a local celebrity and was hit with a council ban could be immortalised in a mural at one of his regular haunts.

Rupert of Bankton was followed by thousands on his Facebook page as he roamed his hometown of Prestonpans, East Lothian.

And when his owners announced his unexpected passing after a road accident in the town, a memorial fund saw donations flooding in.

Now local artist Tom Ewing has said he is keen to include Rupert in murals at Prestonpans Railway Station, where the cat was a frequent visitor.

It was Rupert’s visits to the train station that led to his social media page being launched after his tendency to approach people sparked concerns he was homeless.

His owner said on the fundraising page: “Rupert was my cat but he didn’t like to stay home at Bankton, East Lothian, as evidently that was a bit boring.

“Instead he liked to visit Prestonpans train station, where he used to go up to people miaowing repeatedly.

“This led me to start his own Facebook page as he was regularly mistaken as a sad, lonely wee stray cat.

“When the Covid pandemic struck and ‘his people’ no longer appeared on the platform each day. He changed his hang out to the local Co-op, next to Prestonpans train station.

“Rupert quite enjoyed sleeping on the shelves in the Co-op but someone took umbridge at this and reported him to Environmental Health. This was a sad day but thankfully his other haunts were still open, ie East Coast Carpets, Links Vets, the local ambulance station as well as the garage and local factories.

“Rupert had a great but short life. He was adored by many.”

The cat was so popular that there was local outrage when he was barred from the town’s Co-op after East Lothian Council received a complaint and intervened.

The shop manager insisted staff and customers loved Rupert but they had to enforce the ban.

The fundraising for a memorial has so far generated more than £3200.

Artist Tom who undertook restorations of murals at the train station several years ago told the town’s community council that he has been asked by Rupert’s owners about putting him in a mural.

And he said if a proposed new murals project at the station gets the go ahead he will include a tribute to the four-legged feline.

Tom said: “I told her (Rupert’s owner) if the mural project at train station went ahead I would be happy to create a piece based on Rupert’s adventures.

“As well as being the perfect venue, [it is] a nice piece of modern Pans history.”

By local democracy reporter Marie Sharp

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