A CAMPAIGNER is helping reunite lost cats with their owners across Southend with her own volunteer group.

Sarah Hayward founded “Murdock’s Legacy Search and Rescue Group” named after her old cat Murdoch who passed away back in 2019.

The 27-year-old from Southchurch went out daily in the search for black and white cat Gizmo who escaped from Southend Medivet back in August.

The group and its volunteers were out laying humane traps and conducting searches across Southend in a bid to find the cat, before Gizmo made his way home to near the Kursaal building last Tuesday.

Ms Hayward said: “We got a group to come from Southend and were out every single night and activated our traps, we have three and set them up in the woodlands.

“I started to collect volunteers through the site.

“When there were reported sightings of him I would go out and check the traps.


“There was a woman that saw him on a roundabout. We thought he had left the area, but he ran off after we came up to him.

“I created events on Facebook, we gave a time of 9pm and we handed out masks and went out at 9.15pm.”

Ms Hayward has seen her group grow to 300 members, with them coming from all over the Southend borough to help find the lost cats, wherever they go missing from.

As well as rescuing cats, the group covers a range of care including neutering or spaying feral cats to fostering and finding them forever homes.

Ms Hayward added: “People came from Eastwood, Southend and Shoebury. I always ask them to bring gloves.

“It’s really, really good, it’s a real community effort. I was so glad that Gizmo got home.

“If someone posts on the group to say a cat’s been run over we get out there and put bags over it before anyone’s child sees it, then contact the owner.

“The volunteers are needed as and when, if I ask who is available I get different people from different places.

For more information about the group or to get involved visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/935526166921833.