One of Donside’s most loved felines passed away this week after an incredible thirty years mindfully watching Alford railway station.
“Darkie” was so renowned in the community that he even had a book published about his exploits: “James and The Bonnie Black Railway Cat”.
Hestor Dunn, manager of the Alford Valley Railway Station paid tribute to the extraordinary cat: “He was feral and found as a kitten 30 years ago sniffing around the train sheds. The engineers took a shine to him and started to put out food and he never left the sheds from then on.”
From that point on Darkie would always keep an eye on the station and the children of Alford, never moving out from his new home in the train sheds.
“All the school kids used to know him and he absolutely loved children. He used to get on the train to watch them as they went to school,” she added.
“He was the friendliest cat, he even made friends with the local dogs but he would tease them! He would sit atop of a high pole wagging his tail as the dogs below went crazy. He had a wicked sense of humour like that.”
Throughout his thirty years the hardy puss never slept indoors but instead around the station and kept a special place in his heart for the train sheds.
“It’s great that our lovely cat found somewhere he liked and settled down, he was almost human in some of the things he did. He had many adventures during his long lifetime and many secrets too. We will all miss our beautiful friend,” Hestor said.
The memory of Darkie will live on however with a memorial planned for next year near the station.