Norwich ‘cat lady’ dies after a life devoted to the rescue and welfare of cats

A Norwich woman who was affectionately known as the 'The Cat Lady' after devoting her life to the rescue and welfare of animals, has died.

Rita Brooks, formerly of Cecil Road, Lakenham, died at Saxlingham Hall nursing home in south Norfolk on August 14, following a major stroke earlier this year.

The first cat, which she named 'Potter', strayed into her life in 1983, and since then, literally thousands of cats of all ages, shapes and sizes were nursed back to health if necessary, and then found carefully vetted, loving homes.

Her son Richard Brooks thanked the nursing home for its 'excellent care', and said: 'You only get one mum and she was a great mum and was always there for me. Her life was dedicated to animals, not just cats.

'So many people have been speaking so well of her since her death, which is proof of how well regarded she was. She will be very sadly missed by her many friends.'

Her work with cats took her into some dangerous situations, including drug dens and violent homes, but her concern was solely to help animals, and in so doing, she brought joy to so many people, he said.

Her work was funded partly by frequent coffee mornings held at Cecil Road, and these continued after her first stroke in 2003, when she became less able to give the 24-hour care which her cats required, but she still helped with neuterings and operations.

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Her son said that she never wanted her age to be known, although he said she was in her 70s.

Her husband Barry died last year, and she leaves one son, Richard, five cats, Mac the dog, and very many friends.

All who knew her are welcome to attend her funeral, which will be held on Tuesday, August 23rd at 11.45am at Princes Street United Reformed Church, Princes Street, Norwich. Family flowers only please, but donations in her memory, if desired, to 'Animal Care Swanton Abbott' may be sent c/o Allcocks Family Funeral Services, Falcon House, 96a City Road, Norwich, NR1 2HD.

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