Supermarket cat holds ‘book signing’

Image copyright Book Guild
Image caption Garfield, now 12, has been visiting the supermarket since 2012

A cat that gained 5,000 Facebook followers after making a supermarket his second home has been “signing” copies of a book about his adventures.

Ginger tom Garfield took a liking to Sainsbury’s in Ely, Cambridgeshire, after the store was built on his old stomping ground.

The co-author Cate Caruth said copies of the book – What’s THAT doing There? – sold out in half an hour.

Garfield “signed” his book in Ely Library with a paw-print stamp.

It was modelled on his real paw.

Garfield, now 12, first started visiting the store after it was built in 2012 on a meadow opposite the flat where he lives with owner David Willers.

Image copyright Tali Iserles
Image caption Garfield was “banned” from using the escalator to get to the rest of the supermarket

His favourite spot was a sofa in the Virgin travel shop in Sainsbury’s lobby, and he often tries to get into people’s cars outside the store.

Fans of the cat posted photos of him at the supermarket and at one point his owner had to ask people to stop feeding him as he was becoming fat.

A Facebook page set up with photos of the cat in the supermarket has a following of more than 5,500 fans from places as far away as the United States, Canada, Australia and Russia.

Image copyright Ginny Phillips
Image caption A second print-run had to be done after the book sold out “within hours”, owner David Willers said

A book of his adventures and misadventures has now been written by Mr Willers with Suffolk author Cate Caruth.

The title – What’s THAT Doing There – refers to Garfield’s reaction when a fence was erected across his favourite meadow ahead of the supermarket being built.

Image copyright Ginny Phillips
Image caption Garfield was not happy when a shop was built on his favourite stomping ground
Image copyright Ginny Phillips
Image caption The book fictionalises a number of the cat’s adventures in the store
Image copyright Cate Caruth
Image caption A paw-print stamp was made for the book signing

The book tells how Garfield was once banned from the store for scratching a customer who became a little too familiar – and many of his other adventures.

In the book he is called Garfield Abercrombie Reginald Fergusson, but as that was “far too much like hard work… everyone just called him Garfy”.

“It is a little familiar of people,” Garfy would always think, “but I suppose I can live with it,” he says in the first chapter.

Image copyright Cate Caruth#
Image caption Garfield took the book signing in “his stride” said co-author Cate Caruth
Image copyright Cate Caruth
Image caption Garfield was very relaxed during the book signing and “lapped up” the attention

Speaking after the book signing on Saturday, author Ms Caruth said it was a “big hit.”

“Garfield took it all in his stride, posing for photos with his fans and inspecting the library services with great care.

“It was non-stop for two hours and we sold out of books in half an hour” she said.

Image copyright David Willers
Image caption Garfield’s proud owner has had a tattoo of his cat on his leg

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-47567853

‘Too few’ poor white university students

Image copyright PA

More than half of England’s universities have fewer than 5% of poor white students on their books, says an analysis of university entry figures.

The report, from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon), shows white students from deprived areas in low numbers in many top universities.

There are 3% at the University of Oxford, compared with 28% at Teesside.

The study says too few universities have clear targets to recruit white working-class students.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously warned of the risk of communities feeling “left behind”.

The study, from an organisation promoting wider access into higher education, calls for a “national initiative” to tackle the educational underachievement of disadvantaged white youngsters across schools, colleges and universities.

The university figures show the problem in recruiting white students from poorer backgrounds – and how many universities have very low proportions of them.

It warns that fewer than a fifth of universities have targets for admitting more poor white students – and that there are only “variable” efforts to improve participation.

Even if a target of 5% of poor white students were to be set across universities, it would mean another 10,000 students going to university, says the research.

Missing out

The study looks at white students from so-called “low-participation neighbourhoods” – areas where few people usually go to university.

In total numbers, white students, of all social backgrounds, are the biggest group going to university, show figures from the Ucas admissions service.

But in terms of a proportion of the population, white youngsters are less likely to go to university than Asian or black teenagers.

The latest application figures, for courses in the autumn, show that applications from white students are declining, while they are increasing for Asian and black youngsters.

Cutting across this is a widening gender divide – with women much more likely than men to apply to university.

When these factors combine, it means that white, working-class men become among the most under-represented groups in university.

The study says projects to widen entry into university might need to be “redefined”.

Wide divide

The report shows a starkly divided picture in where poor white students are likely to attend.

They are particularly likely to take higher education courses in local further education colleges.

Among those going to university, 70% go to new universities, with low numbers going to some high-ranking institutions.

Image copyright Getty Images

Cambridge has 2%, Warwick and Bristol 3%, Durham 4%.

At University of Sunderland, 27% of acceptances are from white students from deprived areas and the figure is 22% in Staffordshire University.

The numbers are particularly low in London universities – many of them 1% or 2%.

But these figures might be affected by the high overall levels of young people in London going to university – much higher than elsewhere in England.

‘Left behind’

Because of such high entry rates, even from deprived youngsters, there are relatively few “low-participation neighbourhoods” in London, or young people who would fall into this category.

The high cost of living in London could also deter some poorer students from elsewhere from coming to study in the capital.

Graeme Atherton, report co-author and director of Neon, warned of “big variability” in the chances of different groups to get to university.

“We need to know more about why this variability exists and do more to eliminate it,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Universities UK said that universities were “committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring the success of all their students, regardless of their background”.

The spokeswoman for the universities’ organisation said that “18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas in England are more likely to go to university than ever before” – and that this could be further helped if the government restored “maintenance grants for those most in need”.

Mr Hinds has highlighted the importance of supporting education in communities that might feel “left behind”.

In a speech in the autumn, Mr Hinds said: “White British disadvantaged boys are the least likely of any large ethnic group to go to university.

“We need to ask ourselves why that is and challenge government, universities and the wider system to change that.

“It’s vital that we do this to make sure that no part of our country feels as though it has been left behind.”

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47227157