It is said that a cat gives a home a soul. Barney was a cemetery cat on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel and he helped mourners say goodbye to the souls of the deceased. Barney died at 20 years of age. He had lived at St Sampson’s Cemetery in Guernsey for most of his life. He provided a great service to people at the cemetery and he is now deeply missed.
Tributes have come in from all quarters including the relatives and friends of the deceased who have been buried at the cemetery, the person in charge of the cemetery’s maintenance and the rector of St Sampson’s church, Rev Timothy Dack.
Rev Timothy Dack said:
“I think the presence of Barney brought a lot of comfort to so many people. Whenever I was taking a funeral up there families were so happy to see Barney milling around. The mourners would see him and it would bring them a lot of joy. I just think he gave them great comfort. I know he was well cared for by a number of people.”
He was cared for by many people. Originally, Barney lived in a nearby property. His owners moved away. Barney went with them but he kept returning to the cemetery, his previous territory. We know how cats are attached to their territory. This is a good example of how a cat does not want to be torn away from what he regards as his home. As it happens, Barney’s home was the cemetery and people got used his presence and found comfort in it.
One of his keepers was Alan Curzon. He has confirmed that Barney has now been laid to rest at the place where he spent his entire life helping others say goodbye to those that they had loved. Alan is the cemetery sexton and one of those people who looked after Barney since 1996 when he was a kitten.
Alan confirms the positive impact that Barney had on so many people when he said:
“When relatives and friends have suffered the awful lot of someone close to them and go to visit a cemetery they are not in best frame of mind but Barney was always there to cheer him up. For those who entered the cemetery with a heavy heart, he lightened up the experience for them. When people walked through the gates, he often came up to them and brushed against them. There was not a bad bone in his body.
We are putting up a plaque on the wall and a bench and have found a little space for him in the cemetery where he is buried as well. The place won’t be the same without him and his death has left a gap. I have already seen a lot of people in tears and we are very upset but he had a good life and was well looked after.”
Barney was a very handsome male ginger tabby with a very masculine appearance. You can see in the photograph that he had a little house of his own in the cemetery grounds which looks very cosy. He was fed every day and even had Christmas presents given to him.
On Facebook there have been tributes to Barney such as the words by Debbie and LePage who said:
“God bless you Barney, remember that lovely sunny afternoon, I lay down on the grass in the cemetery and we cuddled up together for hours. I need a friend that day and there you were my angel!!! God bless you.”
Sue Falla’s daughter is buried at the cemetery. Sue said:
“I always felt my young daughter was never alone when he was there. Really going to miss you, Barney, RIP.”
Kelly ogier said:
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“My children loved going to see him when visiting their Gramp’s grave – a lovely cat that will be missed by many and now keeping our lost loved ones company.”