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Statue will celebrate much-loved Liverpool train station cat Paul Newman

1 month ago

Statue will celebrate much-loved Liverpool train station cat Paul Newman
Paul Newman at South Parkway - pic Facebook friends of Paul

For 14 years, Paul Newman the cat was affectionately known as Head of Customer Relations at South Parkway station in Garston.

When the beautiful Bengal who’d made the station his second home died in January, thousands of commuters called for a memorial to their feline friend.

The outpouring of love, for Paul Newman the cat, was so great that his real owner, Steff Hudson, set up a fundraising campaign to create a statue in his honour.

Now she’s halfway to reaching her target and has sculptor Andrew Edwards – the man behind the poignant WWII soldier statue at the Bombed Out Church – ready to immortalise Paul in bronze.

Steff has even written a book about Paul’s exploits which she hopes will boost the fund and get the statue nearer to being commissioned.

“Paul was such an unusual cat and so loved that when he died, he made the national news,” says Steff. “There was even a Facebook page set up in his memory which was full of lovely tributes.

“People said he made going into work bearable, and another friend of a friend who was agoraphobic said although it wasn’t her nearest station, she felt she could go to South Parkway because she would see Paul and that would give her the courage to go through the crowds.”

Paul Newman the cat
Paul Newman the cat

After so many people suggested a statue, they got the go-ahead in August last year which prompted Steff to set up a Go Fund Me page.

She says she realised Paul was an extraordinary cat almost as soon as she got him when he was about nine months old. 

“I have other rescue cats but he wasn’t keen on them and decided, probably after he’d been with me about six months, that he liked being at the station.

“He had my phone number on his collar and at first I’d get phone calls from them to say ‘I think we’ve got your cat’ and I’d go down with the basket and bring him back home. He’d stay in the house for a little while and then he’d be out through the cat flap and I’d get another call saying ‘he’s back at the station’.

“I only live about two minutes away but it is across roads, so I once watched him. He used to look right and left, cross one road, and then he’d go to the pedestrian crossing and wait for the lights to change and the traffic to stop and he’d trot over!

“He used to go to South Parkway so often that it got to the stage where they said, ‘don’t worry, we like having him and he’s fine here’. 

“Eventually he was at the station more than he was at my house because he just loved being there. It was like he believed it was his job and that’s why they called him the Head of Customer Relations.

“When I’d go down to see him, he’d just be sitting there on the concourse and everyone would be having to steer around him with their bags. I don’t know another cat that would do that, they’d just run off, but he just sat there as if he was thinking, yes, I’m making sure everything runs smoothly.”

Paul Newman the Cat
Paul Newman the Cat

Paul carried on his station duties during the pandemic, but Steff says he wasn’t quite so keen then.

“He didn’t like it because there were too few commuters and I noticed there was an optimum number of people he liked at the station. He also came home more often when Lime Street was closed and South Parkway was made the main travel hub because I think it got too busy.”

The concourse was Paul’s favourite spot, and staff who loved him would also let him sit or curl up and snooze on the barrier under a heat lamp.

Steff says sculptor Andrew intends to make to create a barrier as the plinth with Paul sitting on top for the statue which will stand by the main barrier into the overground station.

She’s in the process of editing the book she’s written about his life and many adventures, and hopes to publish that soon to support the fund.

“I started writing all the things I knew and all the things I’d heard and then people would suddenly tell me more tales and their memories of him so they’re all in there,” she adds.

“So many people said such lovely things which was what made me think Paul does deserve a memorial. But it will also be a celebration of all the other animals who give us so much because our lives would be far more stressful and unpleasant if we didn’t have them.”

To support Paul Newman’s statue click here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.

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