University of Buckingham's campus cat Dennis remembered at private burial ceremony

Ashes of much-loved feline were buried in a private ceremony, with a larger event planned after £1,000 was donated to memorial fund

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 8:16 am

A burial ceremony has taken place for the University of Buckingham s much-loved 'campus cat'.

Dennis, owned by Well Street residents Sophie and Neil Barlow, had adopted the university as his second home for a decade.

The popular feline, beloved by students whose campus rooms he frequently visited, sadly died earlier this year, after being hit by a car that did not stop.

Dennis at the hand sanitiser station

Dennis's ashes were buried at the university in a very small ceremony in heavy rain last Friday, June 18, with the owners and a few of those who looked after Dennis on his regular visits.

A larger memorial event is in the pipeline, after staff, students and local residents raised more than £1,000 for a permanent memorial at the university.

Owner Sophie said: "It was a sad occasion but also lovely at the same time, having the opportunity to meet some of the people who he had touched in some way.

"Dennis was a truly unique little character, as was further evidenced by all the stories we were told on the day.

Dennis helps in the office

"Neil and I will look forward to the memorial ceremony, where a fitting tribute will be placed."

Staff member Julie Cakebread, who regularly looked after Dennis when he visited campus, said: "The weather reflected everyone’s feelings at the burial of the much-loved Dennis’ ashes - very miserable.

"Although this event was kept small, we now look forward to sorting out a suitable memorial for Dennis where, it is hoped, we will be able to invite a larger gathering.

"Thanks so much to to all those who have donated – it is much appreciated."

Owners Sophie and Neil Barlow, far right, with university staff who looked after Dennis at the burial ceremony

At the ceremony a poem was read, and the university's former vice-chancellor, Sir Anthony Seldon, sent the following tribute: "I have been thinking a lot about Dennis recently, and why he was such a special cat.

"He was, of course, more than a cat. He brought people together, as he has done again today.

"He seemed to have a super intelligence, to be able to read people. I have so many photos of Dennis on my phone - sunning himself on a uni window shelf, sitting in my in-tray on my desk in my office, spreading himself over the settees at my home, Ondaatje Hall - always looking away, always knowing he was being photographed - what a personality!

"Wishing you a very special ceremony. Warm wishes, Anthony."

Tributes to Dennis on the waiting room wall in Student Welfare