THOUSANDS of pounds has been raised to erect a life-size statue of a 'loving and gentle' cat which lived at Andover railway station.

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.

Andover Advertiser: Jess the beloved cat lived at the station for 13 years after it was abandoned by its

READ MORE: Plan to honour Andover's station cat moves forward

Andy Woods, 54, who used to work at S & J Maddocks, a funeral directors located near the station in Station Approach wanted a life-size statue of the feline be to put up at the station.

A fundraiser to erect a life-size statue of Jess has now reached its target of £5,000.

Andy previously said: "It is really nice to see all the support because it was just an idea but its clear to see how much of an impact he had on everyones lives.

"It is lovely to see everyone get behind the idea and see something positive in the news because everyone had a lot of love for him. I have been up the station since Jess died and it just feels different so this statue would mean he could be there forever."

Around £350 was given to the fundraiser by Hampshire County Council's community grant scheme, which is a fund from which members of the public can request specific grants to local causes. 

Cllr Chris Donnelly, who has awarded the grant, said: "I always used to say hello to Jess when I was at the station, and it was obvious that a lot of other people enjoyed his company. It’s amazing how an animal who never says a word can bring so much happiness to so many.

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"I know that the station staff took very good care of him and there was clearly a huge public demand for a statue. In tough times when there is so much bad news around, this was an opportunity to give something to the people of Andover to bring joy. 

"I’m so pleased that so many people were able to donate, and well done to the organisers, Tracey and Andy.

"I was also very pleased that a local sculptor has been chosen, so it’s very much a local project. Things like this tell the story of our communities at a given point in time and it’s very important, in my view, that we have things like this."