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Cat café owner hails community's 'amazing' support after hundreds raised following vandalism

PUBLISHED: 16:06 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 14 October 2019

Caroline Graham, owner of the Darling Darlings cat lounge in Great Yarmouth, which was vandalised. Picture: Liz Coats

Caroline Graham, owner of the Darling Darlings cat lounge in Great Yarmouth, which was vandalised. Picture: Liz Coats

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The owner of a cat café whose business was targeted by vandals has praised the community for its "amazing" support after hundreds of pounds was raised in a matter of days.

Teddy the therapy cat at Darling Darlings in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Liz CoatesTeddy the therapy cat at Darling Darlings in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Liz Coates

The side window of Darling Darlings cat lounge in Great Yarmouth, was smashed on Tuesday, October 8, leaving owner Caroline Graham in shock.

However, within 24 hours of the incident, a gofundme page raising money for the repairs had been set up with donations flooding in from customers around the UK.

Miss Graham was initially reluctant to ask for help but was convinced to do so by a friend.

"I wasn't thinking about setting up a fundraising page because I'm a proud person who likes to do things by myself," she said.

The Darling Darlings cat lounge has a retro theme to aid reminiscence. Picture: Liz CoatesThe Darling Darlings cat lounge has a retro theme to aid reminiscence. Picture: Liz Coates

"But there was so much support online that my friend set it up for me.

"I can't thank everybody enough for all the donations we've had, it really has been amazing."

The café in Howard Street South opened in June this year and allows cat lovers to stroke and chat to trained therapy felines.

Miss Graham was suppose to be hosting a session with five primary school children on the day after the incident but had to cancel it because of the damage.

Coconut, the three legged cat, is one of the therapy cats at Darling Darlings cat lounge. Picture: Liz CoatesCoconut, the three legged cat, is one of the therapy cats at Darling Darlings cat lounge. Picture: Liz Coates

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She said: "It was heartbreaking to have to tell the teacher the session couldn't go ahead.

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"The group had been wanting to come to the café for a long time and this was finally their opportunity to do that."

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said officers were continuing to investigate an incident of criminal damage at the premises.

Police were called to the café at 8.50pm with officers notifying Miss Graham of the broken window shortly after 9pm.

"I was in shock when I received the call from the police because you don't expect something like that to happen," she said.

"I'm just so thankful the window wasn't left smashed all night because who knows how much more damage might have been caused."

The gofundme page has raised £470 - £20 more than the initial target which covered the cost of repairs.

The café is now open as normal and Miss Graham said she is looking forward to planning a Halloween-themed event on Thursday, October 31.

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