Holmfirth Arts Festival remembers the tiger who came to town 70 years ago

Fenella the tiger
Fenella the tiger
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THE LIFE of a famous friendly tiger, who lived in a small West Yorkshire town during the 1940s, is to be remembered at an arts festival.

Fenella’s time in Holmfirth is to be celebrated with an exhibition of photographs of the tiger, and an evening of songs and stories about her – some true and some made up – with comedian and broadcaster Ian McMillan.

The events are part of the Holmfirth Arts Festival which runs from June 17 to June 26.

Fenella was given to the Overends, a family of circus entertainers, as a cub when they were touring South Africa in the 1930s.

She lived in Holmfirth from 1939 to 1950, near the local primary school, and was often spotted out and about with her owner Kassie Overend.

Her daughter Rosamund Hiles, who lived with Fenella as a toddler, will be talking about her mother’s memories of sharing a house with a tiger and showing original film footage of Fenella at play.

McMillan will be unravelling the mystery of Fenella with the help of musician Luke Carver Goss and award-winning cartoonist Tony Husband, in a special evening of Tiger Tales.

They will be accompanied by local choirs and community musicians led by Simon Wood.

Mrs Hiles’ family is also staging an exhibition of photographs of Fenella, some of which are previously unseen, at Helen J Bray’s photography studio in the town.

This year’s Holmfirth Arts Festival has a circus theme and welcomes artists from across the spectrum - from comedy to children’s theatre, jazz to cabaret, storytelling, dance, classical music and poetry.

The festival organisers will also be asking visitors to get involved in walks, talks and workshops. The opening weekend includes a vibrant Creature Carnival through the streets of Holmfirth. Holmfirth Arts Festival is funded by Arts Council England and Kirklees Council, and is supported by Yorkshire Festival, Longley Farm and other local businesses and individuals.

More information is available www.holmfirthartsfestival.co.uk