The Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue charity shop, opposite The Smugglers Inn in 59 High Street, Milford on Sea has been open quite some time now, so it seemed a good time to find out a bit more about them.
The charity’s modest beginnings started in 1980 when founder Janette Frankland took in an odd moggy at her semi-detached home. “At first there were just one or two strays to look after and rehome,” Janette recalls. “Next there was a feral colony to trap near the Lymington ferry terminal – and it’s just grown and grown from there.” Today, Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue is a major welfare mission whose remit extends across the New Forest and far beyond - in fact the unofficial catchment area is increasing all the time as other animal rescues and charities fall victim to recession or, sad to say, simply pass the buck.
The hub of the charity’s operations is the shelter, licensed for 50 cats, which has all but taken over Janette’s back garden. Over the years virtually every square foot has given way to immaculately-kept pens, runs and stores. Record numbers of cats and kittens have been brought in and cared for at the Lymington rescue - so much so that the shelter has been running at capacity for many months. The situation has become so acute that a number of helpers have been providing temporary accommodation for emergency cases in sheds, garages and even bedrooms until loving new homes can be found for these unfortunate felines.
Lymington Cat & Kitten Rescue gained formal charitable status in the 1990s and opened a shop in Pennington nine years ago. Last year, however, the need to generate extra revenue became acute and a second shop was opened in Milford at the premises formerly trading as Curtleas Fashions, opposite the Smugglers Inn. This shop has now been in business for nearly 15 months, and the staff - led, inevitably, by the indefatigable Janette - have been thrilled with the response from villagers and holidaymakers alike. The shop opens 10am-4pm daily except Wednesdays and Sundays and donations of good quality clothes, books and bric-a-brac are always gratefully received.
More immediately, donations of suitable items to sell at the Christmas Bazaar would be particularly welcomed - call Tonia on 01590 642921 and she will be pleased to arrange collection if necessary.
The charity certainly needs every penny it can raise as it approaches the end of the busiest and most challenging 12 months in its 31-year history.
The raise much needed funds volunteers for the charity are holding their Christmas Bazaar at Milford on Sea Community Centre on Saturday 12 November (10.30am-12.30pm). Organiser Tonia Williams and her team are promising a host of seasonal delights and bargains - from books and bric-a-brac to gifts and goodies. Home-made cakes, toys, jewellery and much more besides will be available, not forgetting a well-stocked tombola table and a raffle with some excellent prizes.
“The people of Milford are marvelous supporters of our charity shop at and we hope they will also turn out in numbers for our bazaar, our biggest single fundraising event of the year,” says Tonia.