St Andrews pays tribute to famous feline Hamish McHamish

A familiar furry face in St Andrews has been immortalised in bronze.

For years a fluffy ginger cat named Hamish McHamish has freely roamed the streets of the historic Fife town, becoming a local celebrity in the process, and on Saturday a statue was unveiled in his honour by Provost of Fife Jim Leishman.

And in his true inimitable style, the 14-year-old feline turned up just in time for the unveiling ceremony in a BMW car.

Gallery: Crowds gather in St Andrews to honour cat about town Hamish McHamish.

He was brought to meet Mr Leishman by a mystery chaperone before trotting off with an air of indifference. “I knew as soon as I started speaking he would go away,” joked the provost.

Before revealing the model of Hamish, which was made by Kilmany-based sculptor David Annand and Fife stonemason Colin Sweeney, the provost paid tribute to Flora Selwyn.

It was Mrs Selwyn who came up with the idea of establishing a monument similar to Greyfriars Bobby as a tribute to St Andrews’ own famous four-legged friend. A fundraising appeal went on to raise £5,000 for the statue.

Mr Leishman added: “What a special lady this is. Without all her determination and hard work, this would not have happened today.”

After students Hannah Holmes and Rosie Hanlon from St Andrews Opera had serenaded the assembled crowd with Rossini’s humorous duet for two cats, Hamish’s owner Marianne Baird said it all seemed a bit surreal.

She said: “I can’t really get over it. All I did was get a kitten.

“When he started to wander around, he used to go to Greyfriars Garden at night because it was a good hunting ground. I would call him and carry him home. If he didn’t want to come home, he would jump over the wall.

“But more and more, he would just jump over the wall. He’s an amoral cat.”

Music continued with a performance from The Alleycats while Hamish took refuge from the crowds in a nearby hairdressers.

Ms Baird added: “I think he doesn’t really like crowds.”

Jim McArthur, who chairs St Andrews Partnership, said Hamish had the habit of turning up in unexpected places including wandering across the stage during a Madras College assembly.