It’s one of the truly great legends from Holmfirth.
And now the life of Holmfirth’s famous friendly tiger, Fenella, who lived in the town during the 1940s, is to be brought back to life.
Fenella will be celebrated at this year’s Holmfirth Arts Festival which runs from June 17 to 26 with a series of events.
They include a stunning new exhibition of previously unseen photos and film footage of the tiger, which was a familiar sight on the streets of Holmfirth through the 1940s.
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.
Kassie’s 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.
Other events at the festival include an exhibition of previously unseen photographs of the tiger, and an evening of songs and stories about Fenella – some true, some made up – with comedian and broadcaster Ian McMillan.
He 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.
Rosamund’s 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.
The Festival has a distinctly circus theme. As well as welcoming a host of talented artists from across the spectrum - from comedy to children’s theatre, jazz to cabaret, storytelling, dance, classical music and poetry - the festival will be asking visitors to get involved in walks, talks and workshops.
The opening weekend will have family feel with a vibrant Creature Carnival through the streets of Holmfirth.
To find out more pick up a Festival brochure, visit the website or follow the Festival on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news. To book direct call 01484 223200.
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.