Mum desperate to find famous New Mills cat – her daughter’s “best friend”

A New Mills family are “desperate” to know what has happened to their cat - famous for appearing at their daughter’s school and even queuing outside the GP surgery.

By Ben McVay
Friday, 5th February 2021, 1:41 pm

Emma Holdgate told how her five-year-old daughter Willow was “crying herself to sleep” every night since the disappearance of one-year-old Link nearly a fortnight ago.

Distraught mum Emma described how Willow’s feline best pal follows the five-year-old to school every morning and once even showed up at her reception class - much to the amusement of other kids.

One another occasion the cat about town even showed up in a queue at Sett Valley Medical Centre – as if waiting for his Covid jab.

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Willow Hibbert, five, with best pal Link

Emma said: “We live quite close to Willow’s school and my first ever phone call from them - which you always dread as a parent - was ‘your cat is in the reception class’.

“All the kids were playing with him and we had to go and collect him - they were all dead sad. Link had walked through the whole school to find Willow.

“But he often follows us when we’re out for a walk and we have to take him home again in case he gets lost.”

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Willow Hibbert with Link and dad Benjamin on Sett Valley Trail

Nurse Emma described how the friendly animal was seen so often by passers-by on New Mills’ Sett Valley Trail they regularly posted pictures of him on social media asking if anyone had lost a cat.

However since January 25 there has not been a single sighting of the beloved tomcat.

Emma, 36, said: “I’m now wondering if he’s been stolen - you hear stories about youths catching cats and them chucking them out at the side of the road somewhere else.

“This is just so out of character for him - he has a routine where he comes and sits on Willow’s bed every night at 8pm and just goes to sleep.

Benjamin Hibbert, Willow's dad, with Link

“I’m crying every day because I need to find him for my daughter - we just need to know what’s happened to him.

“We’re all just hoping some lonely older person has taken him in.”

Worried Emma is even offering a reward for his safe return - if you can help email [email protected] or message Link’s Facebook page at

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor