Cat-as-tree-phe avoided: Tree surgeon receives RSPCA gong

REPORTING on a dramatic rescue of a cat stuck in a tree is a common misconception of what local journalism is all about ... although a tree surgeon receiving a commendation from the RSPCA for rescuing a kitten from a 45ft high tree will do little to dispel that myth.

Gareth Thompson, of garden specialists Lawn and Leaf, has been rewarded for his efforts in saving eight-month-old Maisie, who crawled up to the top of the tree outside her owner’s home in Pinewoods, off Debden Road, Saffron Walden in January.

He told the Reporter: “It is a real honour and I am chuffed to receive this accolade from the RSPCA. I love animals and have said I’d be more than happy to help out again in the future if I’m needed by other pet owners. Dogs, cats, rabbits, you name it – if I get the call, I’ll be there.”

Dawn Avery, a chief inspector at the RSPCA, told Gareth the charity was very grateful for his actions and congratulated him on receiving a commendation, which she said were “not handed out lightly”.

The 31-year-old came to Maisie’s rescue after the fire service were unable to help because ivy surrounding the tree made it difficult for ladders to be put against it safely.

It left the kitten’s family – Lisa Collecott, her partner Nick Guest and her three children – with no choice but to phone the RSPCA, who in turn asked Gareth if he could help.

After clambering up the tree, the tree surgeon managed to grab hold of Maisie, who was distressed but unhurt by her ordeal, and placed her in his bag before winching it to safety.

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Gareth has since promised to keep the Reporter in the loop about his future pet saving exploits – conscious of the need to reinforce the stereotype of local news.