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Last Updated: Monday March 09 2009 15:37 GMT

Charity nets cat food collection

Ella Christopher and her cat food

A woman in Bournemouth is celebrating after finally completing an unusual collection - cat food.

Ella Christopher has been collecting cat food since she celebrated her 50th birthday six years' ago, and now has a tin for every day she's been alive.

That's a huge pile of 18,262 tins, and now thousands of cats in the area will be getting a free feed.

Ella said she realised she already had everything she needed, so asked for cat food instead of presents.

The Cats Protection charity in Bournemouth says Ella's collecting has saved them around 10,000.

The charity looks after around 60 cats at the centre, and also cares for another 150 wild cats that live nearby.

Copycat collectors

Frank Mitchell from the centre said: "It was a brilliant idea and it's actually snowballed because a hairdresser in Bournemouth does the same thing at Christmas but nowhere near the scale of Ella - her achievement is fantastic."