Durban - eManzimtoti animal lover David Weldon-Church had a heart of gold. Every month he shelled out more than R15 000 to feed about 100 feral cats in local colonies.
For 11 years he and his wife, Linda, visited the colonies at industrial sites at Prospecton and uMbogintwini and at Dakota Beach, taking along cooked chicken and rice and often pellets. They also rescued the cats and had them sterilised to try to keep the population down.
The couple, who registered a non-profit organisation called Purr-fect Rescued Cats, also left bread out for hundreds of birds and cared for several dogs at Weldon-Church’s construction company yard in Prospecton.
But just over two weeks ago, when the 59-year-old businessman arrived on the final leg of his daily feeding route at uMbogintwini, he collapsed.
A man working nearby put Weldon-Church into the back of a bakkie and rushed him to the nearby Kingsway Hospital.
Linda said: “David regained consciousness and I was telling him that I loved him and he was telling me the same. But within two hours of collapsing, he was dead.”
A strong, healthy man who had been debating how to mark his 60th birthday in October, Weldon-Church died from an aneurysm – abdominal bleeding.
“It is still a terrible shock,” said his widow, a former nursing sister.
Weldon-Church was the sole proprietor of AD Construction, a small company in Joyner Road, Prospecton, which specialised in civil engineering work.
Now, as a result of his death, the business is closing.
The company’s 15 workers are finishing off two small contracts, but then, with no work in the pipeline, they will be out of jobs.
And with no income, Weldon-Church’s widow is no longer able to finance the feeding of all the animals and birds.
“It will be heartbreaking to have to stop feeding and rescuing them. I won’t be able to bear it,” said Linda as she took the Daily News on her rounds with her son, Shawn Thomas, who dished up the daily meals.
She is looking for homes for three dogs which live in the company’s yard and is also appealing to animal lovers to donate cat or dog food, or to make cash donations to buy food.
She is further hoping to get volunteers to help one day a week to deliver food to the cats.
Her sister-in-law, Lillian Dupen, who worked for her brother and is busy helping the lawyers close down his company, described him as “a very kind man who had such a heart of gold”. - Daily News