As an animal lover myself and an owner for many generations of Jack Russell Terriers, I have always wanted to visit this wonderful charity, and I was thrilled to be invited to visit it in this historic year.

I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be here with you all today to open this magnificent new cattery – a state of the art building of which you must all be very proud. What makes it so special is that it was designed with the wellbeing of the cats in mind. And – as I saw during my tour this morning – the cats and kittens all seem to be absolutely purring with pleasure in their new home!

As an animal lover myself and an owner for many generations of Jack Russell Terriers, I have always wanted to visit this wonderful charity, and I was thrilled to be invited to visit it in this historic year. For 150 years, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has done such a vital job in helping so many unwanted dogs and cats get a second chance in life.

It is heartening to know that Battersea never turns a dog or cat away, and that every one of them will be looked after for as long as it takes to find them a happy new home. In the meantime it is a huge comfort that these animals receive the highest standard of care, love and dedication from the Home’s staff and legions of volunteers.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has deservedly earned a very special place in the nation’s heart and I’m sure that I, like many others, will find it very hard to leave without a four-legged friend tucked under my arm!

Thank you very much for inviting me.

And now it gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the new cattery open.