At St. Sampton’s Parish Church cemetery on the island of Guernsey, England, a 20-year old tabby called Barney, used to comfort mourners that were either burying or visiting a loved one. Barney died of old age at the end of February and the town is grieving. And we are grieving with them.
He did not always live in the cemetery. He once belonged to a family that lived nearby for 3 or 4 years. And when they moved away, they took Barney with them but he kept disappearing and coming back to the cemetery. Eventually, they made a home for him there and he made the cemetery his home.
Alan Curzo, the man responsible for maintaining the cemetery ground and digging the graves, started working there in 1995 – a year before Barney was born. They spent a lot of time together. He said that Barney was well cared for, he always had food, water and even presents on Christmas. People loved him and he loved them back.
“He had his own house but would spend his days wandering around. If he heard a car coming, he would make himself known and was so friendly.
He was a complete sweetheart, he loved everyone who came through the cemetery. He would wait with me at the gate when we did burials and he would make himself known to the newcomers and he gave a lot of comfort to people. He would rub against their legs as they placed flowers on the graves.”
And indeed he was loved and he is being missed. Social media is full with messages and memories of people who met Barney and are paying a tribute to him through their love.
The parish put a death notice in Guernsey’s Press and plan to put a plaque on a wall and a bench to remember and commemorate him.