Lucy, an Island-hopping cat who unwittingly stowed away in a horsebox from Ryde to the Isle of Lismore in Western Scotland, will soon be on her long way back home, thanks to the IW Observer and airline company Flybe!

Lucy’s owner Zara Ellis, a single-mother of three-year old daughter Alice, said they were both ‘absolutely delighted’ their seven-year-old cat will soon be back with them, after being 550 miles away from home since October 20.

Zara praised the IW Observer and Flybe for their massive help in bringing about the pending reunion. She said: “Thank you so much Observer and Flybe, I can’t believe how quickly it’s all happening, especially as Lucy has been missing for a month and we’d all but given up hope.

“She will be home well in time for Christmas and reunited with our other cat Merlin who has been missing her terribly too. It’s wonderful to be part of such a great community which has helped bring our family back together. What could have been a complete tragedy has become an adventure. It’s magic.”

She continued: “We have been trying really hard to get some help to get her back. As a single mother to a three-year-old, I have no transport and no money. It was going to cost quite a lot to get her back from Scotland. I was told it would be about £400 to fly her from Glasgow to Southampton. There were cheaper flights but you have to book way in advance, and we just wanted her home.”

When the IW Observer contacted Flybe about the plight of Lucy, Zara and Alice, we worked together to put the wheels in motion to fly the cat home as soon as possible. Flybe agreed in principle last night to fly Lucy back to Southampton. A Flybe spokesperson said: “Flybe loves bringing people closer to the things that matter most to them. So we will be delighted to ‘contribute to the kitty’ by reuniting Lucy with her family as soon as possible by flying her from Glasgow to Southampton!”

Zara, who runs Innerspiral, fibre art studio in Shanklin, explained how Lucy found her way to the Isle of Lismore in the first place. She said: “My neighbours, who were moving to Scotland, had a horsebox in front of their house down here, and it was left open. I didn’t know, but Lucy had made herself at home in there, and she must have been quite smug about it because I know what she is like.

“The neighbours left for Scotland, and although Lucy was missing I didn’t question it too much because we had only just moved ourselves, and she had gone ‘walkabout’ after previous moves. But this time she did not come back, so we spoke to other neighbours and made up some posters and flyers, appealing for help.

“When the neighbours came back from Scotland to finish their packing, I gave them a flyer with Lucy’s picture on it. After they went back, I had a phone call from them saying they had found her in their barn, and had recognised her from the photo. But they had already completed their move to the Isle of Lismore, so they could not come back down to bring her.”

Zara continued: “She is in a barn, and is refusing to leave it because apparently there is a mink predator around. So we needed to get her back as soon as possible, because my daughter Alice is really missing her and so am I. I didn’t really want her to travel in a car because she finds it distressing being in a vehicle. So travelling by on a plane was the ultimate option.

“Although they are feeding her, Lucy refuses to go into my ex-neighbours’ house. But of course it is very cold up there, and it is getting colder all the time.”

Surprisingly, this will not be Lucy’s first flight. Zara added: “She came from another island to live with us. She was my mum’s cat initially, and my mum lived on the Greek Island of Lefkas for 20 years. When mum passed away three years ago we did a rescue campaign to bring Lucy over here to me, so she is already very well travelled.”