King of the Castle

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23 February 2022
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Not many cats can say they have a literal rags to riches story, but this adorable and mischievous feline lord has gone from homeless to living in a castle!

Fans of hit ITV reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ will already be familiar with the stunning Gwrych Castle, located in Abergale in Conwy, Wales, which has been used to film the last two series due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Travel restrictions have meant that the location has been moved from the balmy Australian jungle to chilly Wales, and celebrities have been using the castle as a base for filming.

Eagle-eyed viewers may have already spotted a furry face in the background of some of the episodes: the lord of the castle Lloyd, a four-year-old moggy who has gone from a homeless kitten to king of the castle!

Coming from nowhere

Mark Baker founded the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust in 1997 and is now its chairman.

His first encounter with Lloyd was back in 2017 when he was closing the visitor centre down for the night and heard a strange noise coming from a nearby bush.

Mark said: “I heard this cry coming from a bush and found this tiny kitten — I have no idea where he came from, but he was the most adorable little kitten. He jumped up on to my lap and that was it!” Mark quickly sent a colleague to go and buy cat food for their new feline friend, and the little kitten made himself at home and that was that!

“He’s the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met. I wasn’t really a cat person before but I think he’s converted me,” said Mark. 

Lloyd was named after Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh, who built the castle in the 1800s and Mark said he suits his grand ancestral name. Now, Lloyd lives in one of the castle’s restored areas where there is a security team on hand 24 hours a day, which means he has a constant stream of people who love him and are ready to feed him.

“Everyone loves him,” Mark said. “He’s very self-sufficient as well. If he wants something, he’ll come and find you, and if he can’t find anyone, he’ll do it himself! He’s definitely led by his stomach.”

Lloyd likes to position himself in the visitor centre a lot of the time, where he can be greeted by his adoring public in his official role as meeter and greeter.

“Every day is an adventure for Lloyd because he has free rein of the castle grounds and there’s so much for him to do,” Mark said.

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He has free reign of the castle.

Hobnobbing with celebrities

It was after Lloyd’s arrival that Gwrych Castle hit the headlines in 2020 when it became the filming location for ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ 

The majority of the filming took place at the castle itself, with the courtyard used as the main outdoor area for the celebrities where they did their chores and the chapel where they took part in their trials. 

Far from being put off by the extra hubbub and noise, Lloyd has enjoyed the extra fuss from the celebrities and the production team — especially the ones that feed him!

“During filming of ‘I’m a Celebrity’ he was constantly being fed by the security team,” said Mark. “He’s quite manipulative though; he’s perfected the pitiful ‘I’m starving’ cry and he has that look of Puss in Boots from ‘Shrek 2’ where he will pretend to be hungry with everyone!”

Read the rest of the feature in the March 2022 issue. Buy the latest digital edition and read instantly on your computer, mobile or tablet device.


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