Take a tour of Cambridge with help from the city’s top cats, Fitz and Will
Fitz and Will, Cambridge’s favourite cartoon cats, are the stars of a beautiful new illustrated guide aimed at showing children around the city and raising money for charity.
The cats, the brainchild of friends Katherine Mann and Laura Robson Brown, have featured in a popular series of picture books, which have sold more than 17,000 copies worldwide. Now they are taking some of what they have learned about Cambridge and sharing it with residents and visitors alike via a new guidebook available to pick up in the city - and then hopefully soon, via an app.
Launched on Friday, August 5, at the Fitzwilliam Museum (home of Fitz and Will), the aim is to try to raise £10,000 for East Anglia Children’s Hospice (Each). All the proceeds will go to the charity.
Katherine says: “We’ve got four Fitz and Will picture books and before Covid we were working with Visit Cambridge and Cambridge BID on encouraging people to come to the city as families.
“We found there was very little in the city for children to do tours, so we took the idea of working with the well-known characters and worked out a short walking tour, that hopefully lasts about an hour or so.”
The tour, with a map and quiz questions to complete, is inspired by the kind of National Trust trails which encourage children to walk further than they might otherwise do by giving them something to fill in and an objective on which to focus.
“We decided we’d like to do it as a charity venture and in the past we’ve worked with Each,” says Katherine. “We’ve done fundraising in town with the mascots, with a bucket collecting funds, and we’ve also published some Christmas cards that have been raising funds for Each over the last three or four years.”
After the pandemic delayed the project, it is now good to go. “We want to include everybody in it because we feel very strongly that the whole city has got a huge amount to offer,” says Katherine.
“We try to keep it quite central and we hope that it’s a short enough tour to give people a flavour of Cambridge, and that will then encourage them to go a little bit further afield.”
The tour starts in the market square, takes in the likes of the Mathematical Bridge and Corpus Clock, and finishes at the Fitzwilliam Museum, but you can start the loop at any point.
“It’s places where the cats have gone on adventures in the past,” says Katherine, “so it’s meant to give children a feel for visiting the places they’ve seen in the books. If they don’t know the picture books, it’s really focusing on getting them to enjoy Cambridge.”
Trinity College graduate Katherine and Laura, a graduate of what was New Hall College, say they are very grateful for the generosity of the community in covering the cost of the guide, meaning that 100 per cent of proceeds go to Each.
Cambridge University Press did the design and layout free of charge, while hotels, schools, and small businesses in the city have provided sponsorship. Katherine and Laura and publisher Little Cam Books would love for anyone to come forward if they are interested in working with them on making the tour fully interactive.
Little Cam Books is also keen to hear from retailers who would like to stock the guide, or purchase bulk copies for their clients or schools and play their part in helping reach the £10,000 fundraising target.
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Each corporate fundraiser Lottie Driver said: “What a fun, creative and innovative project Fitz and Will is. We’re so grateful to Katherine and Laura for their vision and hard work, and everyone at Cambridge University Press for helping bring the brochure to life. I’d also like to thank advertisers for helping ensure maximum funds go towards supporting our vital work.
“Money raised will make a significant difference and help us continue supporting families and caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire and the rest of East Anglia.”