TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman who devoted her life to helping people and animals and was known for her work rehoming animals through the RSPCA.

Catherine Wilkinson, known as Cath, died on Monday aged 76. Born in Kingussie, northern Scotland, Cath moved to Barnsley when she was 16 to complete her nurse’s training. She worked at the Stanley Royd Hospital where she was a psychiatric nurse for more than 20 years before taking an early retirement to nurse her husband through ill health.

During her retirement, Cath became an ardent supporter of the RSPCA, with whom she volunteered for more than 15 years.

“Mum was all about helping people,” said Catherine’s daughter Tanya Haigh, 56, from Keresforth Hill Road, Kingstone.

“She was a nurse and then went to helping with the RSPCA and would take in as many animals as she could. At the time of her death she had 13 cats, two dogs and two rabbits because they didn’t have homes.”

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“She really did love her animals, she had a favourite cat called Lady Nadia who she would walk on a lead.

“She was entered into a competition in the 90s to find Britain’s best pet, and she came second.

“We still have the trophy because she was so proud of it - she went down to London for the awards ceremony and everything.”

Catherine was a trained bereavement councillor who helped people with the loss of their pets and also became a debt councillor with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

“She was always busy, and never had any time for herself,” said Tanya.

“She was one of those people who if she had a minute she would spend it trying to help someone rather than spending it on herself.

“Her motto was ‘bored people are boring people’ and she never stopped really.

“Mum was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2000 but never complained and just kept going like she had done before.”

She lived at Hopwood Street, Barnsley, but moved to Ward Green Lodge last year due to suffering with the effects of dementia. Despite that, Tanya says her mum never lost who she was.

“She was so polite to all the carers and kept thanking them for what they were doing. I think that really said a lot about who she was.”

Catherine’s funeral will be held on Wednesday.

The church service will take place at 9am at Holy Rood Church, Barnsley, and then at 10.10am a service will take place at Ardsley Crematorium. After that, mourners are invited to Shaw Lane Cricket Club.