Street Cat Bob lives on through superfan’s woollen tribute

German Bobite Ester Inga Oppermann’s tells of excitement as her creations are part of the official promotion for A Christmas Gift from Bob

As A Christmas Gift from Bob hits our screens, one German superfan is celebrating her newfound place in the story of the famous cat.

Hanover resident Ester Inga Oppermann’s crochet tribute to James Bowen and Street Cat Bob – lovingly called Little James and Little Bob – caught the imagination of the film’s promoters Lionsgate UK, and so she is now producing promotional social media posts for the movie.

“I’m very excited and it’s crazy for me,” Ester told The Big Issue. “When the movie poster came out, I posted a picture on Instagram with Little James and Little Bob in front of the poster. I tagged Lionsgate UK on the picture and they called me back to say they wanted to have a collaboration with me with some pictures from Little James and Little Bob.”

Ester first heard of Street Cat Bob back in 2013 when she saw a review of the first book about the legendary feline in a German cat magazine. When she picked up the book, she was immediately hooked on James’s story of how he turned his life around with the help of a ginger cat and The Big Issue.

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“I bought the book and couldn’t put it down,” she said. “This book opens your mind. [It makes you think about the fact that] if you are on the streets, and no one was looking at you, it’s like you are invisible. And this touched me very much. So, every time I’m in London, I always buy The Big Issue. And I always have a chat with the vendor.”

In 2015, James and Bob came to Germany for a book signing. Ester wanted to do something special for them, and so she persuaded her best friend’s mum, Gaby Wadewitz Gross, to make her idea for a tribute into a woollen reality. 

Ester and James
Ester meets James and Bob at a book signing.

Little James and Little Bob were born.

To Ester’s delight, James was very impressed with his mini me. “I still see James at the table how he looked at his alter ego. Since that day they are normally always with me. And Gaby, my woolly artist has lots of work because Little James and Little Street Cat Bob always need perfect matching outfits,” said Ester.

Ester has gone on to document the adventures of Little James and Little Street Cat Bob on their own Instagram account. They can be seen on visits to Ester’s local landmarks, on trips to London, and even with Ester’s favourite Big Issue covers. Gaby continues to make the dolls and their clothes, while Ester is the visual storyteller.

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The Legend will live on and it’s true, real Street Cat Bob will live on in the new Movie A CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM BOB and in this new Big Issue from today with Bob on the Cover. Little James Bowen & little Street Cat Bob are happy to introduce this Edition to you, it’s an early Christmas Gift from Bob to you. You can do a bit for homeless People if you buy the Big Issue…once again Great Britain is in Lockdown and the Vendors need your help. The can’t sell it to you on the Streets so please buy a magazine online or use the Big Issue App! Thanks in the Name of little James & little Street Cat Bob ❤️ #bigissue #bigissueuk #thebigissue #bigissuefoundation #bigissuevendors #newbigissue #streetmagazine #bigissueapp #astreetcatnamedbob #streetcatnamedbob #streetcatbob #jamesbowen #achristmasgiftfrombob #crochetdolls #handmade #amigurumi #gingercat #cat #ahandupnotahandout

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“I’m sure that people in my everyday life laugh at this 48-year-old woman who plays with dolls, but I do it because I’m a storyteller who likes to tell people about this lovely man and a ginger cat, who brought me and so many other people together,” she said.

Ester found a community of friends in the global Street Cat Bob fan community – known as the Bobites. They talk frequently on social media and have even met up in London at BobFest, an annual celebration of Bob which raised money for animal charity Blue Cross.

“It’s a great thing to be a part of. I’ve got so many friends all over the world. And we all feel the same for James, and for Bob,” she added.

Ester has given Little Jameses and Little Bobs to many of her international friends: “They are distributed all over the world: they live in the USA, Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and in Germany.” And at the last BobFest in 2018, she got them all together for a group photo.  

Little Jameses
The Little Jameses come together for a group photo.

Ester was very sad when she found out that Bob had died earlier this year. But she is determined to keep his story alive.

“When James lost Bob I was in shock, like most of the fans,” she said. “For me and Little James Bowen and Little Street Cat Bob it was an ordeal. Could I still go on with them on Instagram after more than two years? Followers told me to do so and I decided now that I will go on.

“They could travel to the world and live a good life in their little orange dollhouse. They still have so much to tell and we all won’t forget Bob… he will live forever as little Street Cat Bob in our hearts.”

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