AN ANDOVER resident is hoping to commemorate a 'loving and gentle' railway station cat that died by calling for a life-size statue to be erected in its honour.

As previously reported, Jess lived at the station for 13 years after being abandoned by its previous owners who moved away from the area.

The decision was made to put Jess down after it was confirmed the feline had cancer.

A Facebook group called Jess the Andover station cat has been following its antics over the years and has more than 3,000 members.

READ MORE: Tribute paid to much-loved Andover train station cat Jess

Andy Woods is hoping that a life-size sculpture of the feline can be put up at the station so it "can be back where he belongs". 

The 54-year-old used to work at S & J Maddocks, a funeral directors located near the station in Station Approach, from 2016 until January this year.

He said: "When I used to work there he was always hanging around the place and all the businesses on Station Approach would feed him.

"I think after people visited the funeral directors they would see Jess sat there and it would always just cheer them up. He was the happiest-looking stray cat you could ever meet."

Andy is currently in discussions with South Western Railway to get permission to go ahead with the idea.

Residents have been backing him on the Facebook group.

One posted: "I think that's a lovely idea, Jess will be there for everyone to see, every day."

Another said: "I am more than happy to contribute and I think it’s a wonderful idea. There’s a massive Jess-shaped hole in a lot of hearts at the moment. He was loved by so many."

Staff at the railway station have also paid tribute to the beloved cat.

A station spokesperson said: "Anyone who has used Andover train station in the past would have undoubtedly come across Jess upon their travels, whether it be huddled up in the ticket office with the staff or roaming the platforms keeping passengers company whilst they waited for the next stage of their journey."

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They continued: "Although Jess looked grumpy and wasn’t always photogenic, he was such a loving and gentle boy who wanted nothing more than to sit on your lap and get lots of cuddles and ear scrunched." 

If Andy gets approval for the statue he hopes to set up a fundraising page to raise the funds. 

A South Western Railway spokesperson added: "The station staff say that they are all very touched by the obvious affection that Jess was held in by people from both near and far.

"They’re checking what the process is to get permission for some sort of permanent tribute to Jess and they will be watching the campaign to fund a statue with interest."