FLORAL tributes have been laid out in Ambleside for a cat who was a 'character in the village' right up until her death. 

The cat was known by many names, such as Riley, the Millans Park Cat and The Dodd's Cat. Other businesses and groups in Ambleside also named her as she was often seen in the SPAR and roaming different parts of the village. 

Sources in the Lakes village suggest that Riley died on Tuesday, January 23 after being hit by a car. She would have been an elderly cat, as she was born in 2010 or 2011. A note at the floral tribute laid out for her on a bench in the village said that the accident with the car left her with a fracture to her right hip and spine.

The couple who took her to the vets in Windermere decided that such an injury meant the only correct course of action would be to put her to sleep. 

The Mail: Riley was a popular community cat in AmblesideRiley was a popular community cat in Ambleside (Image: Ellie Fisher)

Laszlo Papp (42), co-owner of the Dodd's Italian Restaurant on Rydal Road, said that she was rescued around December 2011 after being abandoned during a period of heavy snowfall. Laszlo said that she was 'tiny, barely peeking her head out of the deep snow' when the restaurant staff spotted her. She could not be lured into a shed, so they fed her outside.

Ever since then Riley has wandered around in Ambleside and allowed herself to be looked after by people in the community while preferring to stay outside.

For a while, she lived on the roof of Dodd's Restaurant, which Laszlo said helped keep the pigeons away. She later lived in other places in Ambleside, although she continued to visit Dodd's Restaurant once a day. 

The Mail: Riley sheltering in the Budgens in AmblesideRiley sheltering in the Budgens in Ambleside (Image: Susie Hodgson)

She became so well known in the village that a Facebook group with over 230 members was set up so that people could share photos and stories of her. People who visited Ambleside from outside the area for short breaks would say hello to her. 

"She wouldn't go into anyone's house, everybody heard about her one way or another," Laszlo said. "She was so popular. It's a big loss to the local community. A couple of companies and individuals are trying to put together money to cremate her. I don't think the community would not do something."

One member of the Millans Park Cat page shared a video of the floral tributes laid out for Riley on a bench in the village.