Woman found living in hedge after three years didn't want to leave her cat
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A woman in her fifties has been found living in a hedge for as long as three years, because she didn't want to part ways with her beloved cat - who she described as her 'soulmate'.
Gareth Olsen, a tree surgeon, had been clearing a field in Chester when he found a 'makeshift home' among the bushes.
The woman explained that tragically, she hadn't been able to find any rented accommodation that would accept pets, and so ended up living outside with her cat instead.
The woman's 'home' consisted of a tarpaulin, a few umbrellas, an old sleeping bag and blankets and cushions, with other possessions in bags and boxes.
Gareth explained to Metro UK: "It's such a sad story. I felt so shocked and sorry for her. I was clearing a piece of land for a private landlord and it hadn't been touched for years."
"One of our guys was in a tractor and a little hand appeared out of the hedge waving and saying 'I live here'.
"Now, I do charity work in Deeside but I don't have any contacts here in Chester so I thought 'what can I do?'."
Gareth quickly decided to step in to help the woman, giving her some change to buy food and calling a friend, Adam Dandy, from local homeless charity, Supporting Homeless, Assisting Refugees Everywhere (SHARE).
"I thought I'd call my friend Adam Dandy as he does a lot with the SHARE charity and they have sent their outreach team out to help this lady," Gareth adds.
"Bless her. When I first met her I said I hope you don't mind me asking but how long have you been here and she said a couple of years - probably two or three.
"I asked her how she was managing and she said she was quite a hardy person and all she really needed was a sleeping bag as hers had seen better days. She was clearly not doing well.
"She was awfully nervous too, thinking we were going to kick her off the site. I said no, I'd like to try to help her. I wasn't leaving her there."
The tree surgeon continued: "I couldn't sleep that night, wanting to make sure she was OK. She was insistent at first that she would just move on and make sure the site was tidied before she did so.
"I asked her if she had had any accommodation and she said she had done over the years but she has had a cat for a few years who she described as her 'soulmate' and lots of places wouldn't take her cat. I'm glad that it all came good in the end and she is now getting support."
Adam from SHARE explained that that the woman is now receiving help to find housing.