Gymnastics Club's royal cat back from the dead
GYMBO the ginger tom was already an adult cat when he first wandered off the street and into the Gympie Gymnastics Club 13 years ago, immediately making the huge tin shed his personal kingdom and installing himself as the ruling monarch.
Since then he has reigned with a bored forbearance, blithely strutting through and beneath forests of bouncing, leaping bodies or sleeping in a sliver of sunlight while 12 seven-year-old girls stretch it out in a circle around him.
It's his shed and everybody knows it.
Now in his twilight years, Gymbo is looking his age.
"He's mangy but cute," one parent said this week.
His days of adventure should be well and truly behind him, right?
Three months ago he disappeared without a trace, triggering an extensive search involving students, parents and coaches.
"He went missing a week before the Easter holidays," head coach Elissa Lyon said this week.
"We searched over the holidays, driving around in cars and knocking on doors. We put a lost ad in the paper."
It was all to no avail. It seemed Gymbo had gone off somewhere, laid down and probably died.
Eventually, everyone gave up the search and "Gymbo's shelf" in the kitchen was stripped of his various food stuffs and medicines.
Earlier this month, the club received a phone call from the RSPCA. Gymbo was alive. He had wandered into a house on Jimbour Rd at The Palms.
To get there would have been a journey of 14km, passing through Gympie's CBD, over the Bruce Hwy and across Kidd Bridge.
Luckily, the club had him micro-chipped after a nearby resident had thought he was homeless earlier this year and adopted him.
He was only missing for a day or two that time.
Now, Gymbo is back where he belongs, sleeping in the midst of a tangle of legs and leaping bodies, and periodically deigning to allow one youngster or another to give him a loving pat or cuddle.