HEXHAM hospital cat Yang could be set to receive an ‘animal OBE.’

Eleven-year-old Yang Bell, who is credited with lifting morale for local people and staff at the town centre hospital, has been nominated for a PDSA Order of Merit award which recognises animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society, above and beyond normal companionship – and represents an exceptional example of the special relationship between animals and humans.

The unofficial hospital mascot has long been famous in these parts but reached new audiences more recently after a now viral text message was shared on social media by a patient recovering from surgery.

Alison Galilian, of Haydon Bridge, nominated Yang after her own meetings with the ginger feline left a lasting impact. She now needs the public’s help in gathering people’s experiences with Yang, owned by Glynis Bell.

“I moved to Haydon Bridge with my family a few years ago to be near my dad”, said Alison, who has two rescue cats.

“Like everyone, I have always enjoyed the calming presence of Yang at the hospital. However, just over three years ago, my mum was suddenly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“My dad and I made regular trips to the chemotherapy unit at Hexham hospital with my mum. Twelve weeks after her diagnosis, she sadly lost her battle.

“Since then, I have found it extremely hard visiting places that I had previously gone with my mum. Attending Hexham hospital was very difficult for me, as it brought back all the sad memories of my mum’s illness and her chemo sessions. I would walk up to the doors of the hospital with a very heavy heart and a lump in my throat.

“Seeing Yang waiting inside the hospital doors, I’d sit down for a cuddle. He really helped lift my spirits and reminded me that life carries on.

“I have been receiving physiotherapy treatment on a regular basis so always look forward to a cuddle and chat with Yang before going inside. Having Yang there has made my visits much easier to manage now.”

She added: “I can see that Yang is most definitely one in a million. Not many cats would walk a mile to sit inside a hospital and offer strangers a cuddle and a chat!

“I really want Yang to get the recognition he deserves.”