Fundraising news // 9th December 2021
Back by popular demand, the calendar features endearing shots of Facebook sensation Felix and her trusty apprentice Bolt, hard at work – and occasionally sleeping on the job – in various locations around Huddersfield Train Station in West Yorkshire.
This year, proceeds will go to Myeloma UK thanks to Alan Hind, the mastermind behind the furry duo’s social media accounts.
Sadly, Alan’s wife, Dawn, was diagnosed with myeloma back in December 2020.
“This year it’s going to be a special calendar because Myeloma UK is a cause close to me as the creator of the Facebook page,” said 60-year-old Alan. “We’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster in the last 12 months – it’s been a steep learning curve but Myeloma UK were there for us. The charity will always be special to us and we want to give back to them.”
Dawn added: “We had never heard of myeloma: it came out of the blue. In our time of need, Myeloma UK’s Infoline was the place to go. They were on the end of the phone as long as I needed. We got all our information about myeloma from their website. They’ve been so helpful.”
Alan first spotted Felix casually patrolling the platform on his weekly commute to Manchester back in 2014. When he realised Huddersfield’s most photographed moggie didn’t have her own social media account, he set up a Facebook page and Twitter profile. By 2016, Felix had shot to national fame. She was joined by her second-in-command, Bolt, in 2018. Since then, calendars of the dream pest-control team have sold like hotcakes and two best-selling books have been written about them. The pair now boast 22,200 followers on Twitter and 145,430 Facebook fans.
“I thought, ‘This cat must have a Facebook page but it didn’t so I set one up and it grew very quickly. It was a hobby and, when I retired in 2019, I continued to run the accounts,” said the father-of-two. “All the photos came from the staff at the station or people passing through the station.”
Uploading pictures of Felix and Bolt complete with humorous captions became a welcome distraction for Alan following Dawn’s diagnosis last winter.
“Doing Felix and Bolt’s social media has been a fun diversion for me,” he said. “It’s kept me going. It’s a bit of fun and laughter, and I believe it makes you feel good.”
Dawn had been experiencing severe back and hip pain for months when, one day, she sneezed and felt her back crack. It took doctors three months to pinpoint the cause of her increasingly alarming symptoms. By the time she was finally diagnosed, Dawn has suffered extensive damage to her neck and spine.
“They told me not to move my head because they were worried I could be paralysed,” the 60-year-old explained. “I had symptoms going back a couple of years but we just didn’t add it all up. I had a cracked rib in 2019 but it got better and I didn’t think anything of it.”
Thankfully “the chemo stopped it all in its tracks”.
Following rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant Dawn’s condition improved and she is now in remission.
Over the years the Huddersfield Station Cats calendar has raised thousands of pounds for a range of local and national charities. It is hoped this year’s edition will help raise a few thousand more for Myeloma UK and fund vital patient services and research into treatment.
Angie Hunte, TransPennine Express acting group station manager for Huddersfield, said: “Felix and Bolt have helped put Huddersfield on the map around the world. We get visitors from all over the UK and indeed the world. None of it would have happened without Alan’s madcap creativity. All the team here were devasted when we learnt of Dawn’s diagnosis, but it’s wonderful that we can help Myeloma UK with this year’s calendar profits.”
Order the Huddersfield Station Cats 2022 calendar here.